|Name:||“Rules Don’t Apply“|
|Director, writer:||Warren Beatty|
|Format:||1.85:1 (unusual for this studio)|
|When and how viewed:||Regal Ballston Common, light audience, 2016/11/29, evening|
|Companies:||20th Century Fox (Searchlight?), Regency, RatPac|
“Rules Don’t Apply”, a period dramedy in which director Warren Beatty plays the eccentric billionaire isolani Howard Hughes, gives another case where the kid parents that pap.
Alden Ehrenreich plays the 20-something Uber-careful driver for Hughes in 1958 Los Angeles, made to look art deco with all the sunny valley smog. Pretty soon he, following the fraternization rules, is escorting aspiring actress Mamie (Haley Bennett), and he gradually gets brought in to helping Hughes and Mathis (Matthew Broderick) managing Howard’s flailing legal problems as he faces Congress.
Why does he get this opportunity? Frank seems like the only grownup in the movie. Yes, he has a good evangelical upbringing in Fresno, and takes the idea that sex implies marriage seriously, at least for starters. Pretty soon he is flying private planes, going to Europe, and DC, keeping Howard out of trouble, At the end of the film (as most of it is told in flashback), there is a press conference in LA in 1964 where reporters want to locate Hughes (in Acapulco), rumored to have dementia, lying in bed I a resort, admitting that “I need to get out more.” It’s sad. Frank could have used all of this to get rich himself, but he just always does the right thing, or almost always. There is, of course, some heterosexual temptation.
The plot has an interesting twist: Hughes has to face the idea that if he gets married, a sympathetic spouse could protect him from getting committed. Yup, he’s become an M.P., like what I saw a NIH I 1962.
Beatty has said that this film is not really a biography of Hughes, but rather a story of a religious young man and woman coming to terms with the coming sexual revolution.
Ehrenreich looks spiffy, having grown chest hair since “Beautiful Creatures”.
Beatty, remember, starred as a young man, the virile and tempting Bud Stamper in Elia Kazan’s “Splendor in the Grass”, where the young girl (Natalie Wood) winds up in a Kansas mental institution over family sexual repression – and they each marry someone else at the end. Based on the Wordsworth poem, the film got a lot of attention among students at William and Mary in my lost semester in 1961; my roommate said he had “emoted” over the movie (just before I saw it). Then in 1964 he plays a virile attendant in another mental institution who gets gradually undone by “Lilith” (Jean Seberg). I remember seeing this at the old Buckingham Theater in Arlington VA.
Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016 at 11 AM EDT