It's Hollywood, 1958. Aspiring actress, songwriter, small town beauty queen and devout Baptist virgin Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) has a contract with movie mogul Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty) and arrives with her mother (Annette Bening) in Los Angeles to do a screen test for one of his film projects. At the airport, they meet their driver Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich). Forbes is an ambitious young man with a business plan and engaged to his 7th grade sweetheart, both deeply religious Methodists. The instant attraction that Marla and Frank feel for each other not only puts their religious convictions and moral values to the test, but also defies Hughes' #1 rule: No employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress. Hughes' enigmatic behavior intersects with Marla and Frank in separate and unexpected ways, and as they are drawn deeper into his bizarre world, their values are challenged and their lives are changed. Written by
20th Century Fox
When Marla and Lucy share the back seat of a car, much of their dialogue is improvised. See more »
In one scene, Howard and Harlan discuss the fact that Marla is the only RKO contract girl with the initials MM. Later in the film, however, we learned that Mamie's last name also begins with the letter M. See more »
The end credits contain the standard disclaimer that all characters are fictional. But Howard Hughes, as well as his aides Noah Dietrich (played by Martin Sheen) and Robert Maheu (Alec Baldwin) are real people. See more »
I have so much to say about this gem that I'm not sure where to start from. Let me just say that as soon as I heard Gutav Mahler's Adagietto coming out of the Hollywood Bowl while the young virginal couple sit in the car facing the moon, I was transported to Venice, the Venice of Luchino Visconti in Death in Venice. Throughout the film Mahler's Adagietto kept magically coming back so, for me, that's the film. Art and commerce, too much and too little, life and death. Warren Beatty, writer, director, producer also stars as Howard Hughes, a character who's lived in Warren Beatty's mind for decades. He moved me. It was clear why Hughes was a character that could allow Beatty to talk about very personal things without having to do it in first person. - Mia Farrow told Michael Caine between takes in Hannah And Her Sisters: "Woody is telling me things through you" - Here Warren Beatty is telling us things about him through Howard Hughes. A mass of contradictions that can only be explained in the heart and mind of an artist. I'm already a huge fan of Alden Ehrenreich right from Tetro and here he is wonderful, tender and real. Lily Collins is new to me but Annette Bening, well Annette Bening reminded me in her few minutes on the screen that she is one of the greatest actresses we've got. Death in Venice and the last image of Howard Hughes left me with a knot in my throat. I will certainly see it again, just as sure that Rules Don't Apply will be rediscovered in years to come.
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