Rules Don’t Apply is an odd concoction but one that I enjoyed a great deal. The film starts by following two young people new to Hollywood brought together by their mysterious employer Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty). Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) is a young would-be actress and Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) her driver. We see them slowly drawn to each other as they both await introductions to their reclusive employer. When those introductions happen the film changes tack somewhat to follow Hughes, albeit with the narrative catalyst fuelled by the unrequited love between Marla and Frank. Eventually, the story will turn slowly back to the young lovers but first Beatty wants to have some fun depicting the intriguing recluse that is Hughes.
Beatty clearly still has the magic touch. As writer, producer, director, star he has the ability to draw in an all-star cast (Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Ed Harris, Matthew Broderick, Steve Coogan, Oliver Platt, Candice Bergen and of course Annette Bening all show up, some for single scenes) and deliver a lightly comedic and romantic film. Set just after the golden age of the studio system in Hollywood, the film’s lighting and sets are made to match the era. Collins and Ehrenreich have great chemistry as well giving us something to route for.
If you want a more detailed film of Hughes life then Scorcese’s “The Aviator” is the place to look, but this is a much lighter way to pique your interest.