AFI Fest 2016 Review: Rules Don’t Apply
Kicking off AFI Fest 2016, we had the Gala presentation of the new Warren Beatty film, Rules Don’t Apply. The film tells the story of the incredibly famous Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty) and his interactions with a woman named Marla (Lily Collins) and one of his employees named Frank (Alden Ehrenreich). Howard has become a recluse, and his behavior is becoming more and more unpredictable and strange. Howard invites women to Hollywood who he thinks have potential for stardom and provides them a place to live until he decides to use them in a film. This is how we meet Marla. Marla is a good Christian girl from Virginia who has been brought to Hollywood for a chance at stardom. She meets her driver, Frank, who is also a good Christian from Phoenix and they become friends. They talk about their lack of interaction with Mr. Hughes and share in excitement when each of them gets to meet him. As the film progresses, all of their relationships become entangled and very messy as Howard continues his downward spiral into madness and reclusion from the world around him.
The performances are pretty decent, and Warren Beatty does a great job with the character of Howard. Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich have an undeniable chemistry between them on screen. Their awkward and adorable nature makes them a perfect match. There are quite a few supporting characters in the film which help to round out the film, including Annette Benning, Alec Baldwin, Matthew Broderick, Oliver Platt and Ed Harris. There is one scene that I remember to be powerful, and that is the one where Frank and Lily argue in the elevator. It was an explosive scene filled with so much emotion and turmoil that it stands out as one of the best of the film.
The film is enchanting visually. The old Hollywood style of clothing, the set design of the studios, houses and furniture are just perfect. The film transplants you back to the beautiful and amazing time in Hollywood. The film has some pretty great scenes of the streets of Hollywood showing old buildings and what it looked like in the old days. The scenes in which they have to use planes and flying are also done beautifully. The film isn’t a big budget type film but took the care to make sure those scenes were done well.
The film does have a fairly slow pacing and can feel extremely long at some points. The film is by no means one that thrives in action but is slow and steady to its finish. There are a few scenes where the delivery of the lines could’ve been better and there were awkward pauses and the lines didn’t seem to have as much effect as they should. The ending is strange to me, and it ends rather abruptly, leaving the audience a little confused.
All in all, Rules Don’t Apply is an interesting take on a love story complicated by the typical Hollywood drama and insanity. The pacing is slow, but the characters are interesting and the story will keep your attention throughout. Rules Don’t Apply is like a blast from the past that is sure to delight many.