Today’s review is on the film entitled Rules Don’t Apply, a film that critics call the best movie of the year. Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone as this movie flew under the radar thanks to the blockbusters coming out this weekend. For those caring to know, it is a film portraying the eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes and the many people caught up in his game of… craziness. Does this movie live up to the hype of the trailers? As always it’s my job to share my thoughts and report on the latest film to hit the theater trenches.
- The setting
- The portrayal of Hollywood
- Warren Beatty’s performance
This weekend seems to involve taking trips into the past, as Rules Don’t Apply drops you back into the mid 1960s and all the cultural trends of the era. This film has costumes and sets that recreate the time period, helping immerse you into environment that existed 50 years ago. All the promising hope and youthful energy are unleashed, trying to bring about the fun times Hollywood brought with it in the golden age of cinema. And if you could care less about the ambience, then you will get a good laugh at some of the ridiculous trends the era fostered, especially when the film pokes fun at it.
For you drama lovers though, a strong quality of this film is the portrayal of Hollywood and the obstacles it presents for our “heroes”. Rules Don’t Apply does a fine job of showing how Hollywood promises fame, fortune and excitement to the aspiring, only for the cold-hearted politics to rip that promise away in an instant. Be warned the tale is somewhat depressing, but I give props for a studio revealing the ugly face hidden behind the makeup and lights.
Yet the main strength of this movie is Warren Beatty’s performance as Howard Hughes. If you don’t know much about the man, read Wikipedia and you’ll find he had a generous and ambiguous allocation of funds and attention. Beatty portrays that unorganized way of thinking perfectly, showing the erratic pressured speech, the flight of thoughts, and troubled looks of a man with too much on his mind. And as time passes, and status’ change, Beatty adapts his look and talents to portray more of the madness during Hughes downward spiral. He was dynamic, he was funny, and he sold me on how much struggle the man went through all those decades ago.
- The actors’ chemistry
- The lost potential
- Soap opera theatrics
- The editing
It was hard to pick a starting point for my dislikes, but the actors’ chemistry through me off in this movie. Our potential star crossed lovers were more awkward than romantic and it felt like the two leads were forced to work together (like we saw in Twilight and The Star Wars prequels). Our young actors felt stiff together, the ability to act off one another not quite as polished or believable as I had hoped. While I understand relationships can start out this way, the chemistry didn’t move past this until near the end of the film. Instead, the relationship and acting continued to move into the overdramatic region, ascending to levels that soap operas make famous. Much of the theatrics were more eye-rolling annoying than appreciative, and I prayed for something to end the nonsensical love story they were trying to sell. Fortunately, the other relationships that main character Frank Forbes had to foster made up for the stiff romance story of this film.
I can’t just pin the poor relationship on the acting. No, the main dislike for me in this movie is the editing. Beatty may be a good actor, but his writing and directing need some work to help improve his storytelling ability. Rules Don’t’ Apply seemed to have difficulty determining what kind of movie it wanted to be. So instead they decided to mash everything together into a multi-genre menagerie that didn’t work. Much of the film were snippets of Hughes’ endeavors hastily crammed together to provide some entertainment. And while I laughed at times, the irrelevance to the plot became very irritating by the end of the film. And even worse, these interruptions destroyed the coherence of the plot and weakened the overall tale, especially in regards to the character development. If this is entertaining to you great, but if you are like me…you’ll be bored by all the unnecessary components and the extended run time.
Rules Don’t Apply may be artistic and have one heck of a leading performance. However, past that this film’s storytelling needs an overhaul/remake to get the job done. It’s unfocused editing, overdramatic acting, and slow pace did not entertain me as much as I had hoped. You are better off waiting for this one to hit home folks, where you can at least nap through most of the movie if you get bored. But if you want a drama with lots of moving pieces…Rules Don’t Apply is the film for you.
Movie Overall: 4.0