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Rules Don't Apply [2016] [PG-13] - 5.2.5



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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In 1958 a starlet (Lily Collins) and a chauffeur (Alden Ehrenreich) begin a romance that is frowned upon by their religious denominations and forbidden by the rules of their employer, the reclusive and peculiar billionaire Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty). Also with Annette Bening, Matthew Broderick and Alec Baldwin. Directed by Warren Beatty. [2:06]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - A man sits on a couch and a younger woman straddles him as she kisses him as he lifts her long skirt somewhat to reveal panties and a glimpse of thighs; she removes her hosiery under her lowered skirt as the scene ends and the camera returns later to show the man seated on the couch with his trousers around his knees, wearing briefs, and we see his bare thighs (sex is implied); she rushes out, clothed, and we later see her in a doctor's office as the physician says that abortions are illegal in California (we see her later with a young son, as a single mother).
 A man and a woman kiss in her house, lower to the floor (a vase falls over and breaks), and he lies on top of her; they kiss and he grunts and when he stands up, a wet spot (indicating ejaculation) is seen on the groin of his trousers (they both remain clothed). A clothed man with an open shirt kisses a woman and begins to lie on top of her when an earthquake shakes them off the bed; she is seen in the background wearing a corset and hosiery and we can see a little indistinct cleavage. A woman kisses an elderly man. A man and a woman embrace for several seconds.
 A man tells a woman that the church teaches that you are automatically married to the first person with whom you have sex; the woman agrees. A woman says that a rich man in Hollywood has a reputation for hiring actresses with whom he has sex, but never places into films. A woman tells her adult daughter that she hopes the daughter is not going to meet a man with a reputation for having sex with women in a hotel room somewhere. We hear that venereal disease rose 85% around Hollywood in 1959. A man tells another man that birth control pills are a good investment. An elderly man points and makes hand-cupping motions at a younger woman's chest and talks about rayon.
 A few scenes show women wearing long gowns that partially bare shoulders and cleavage. A woman in a screen test wears a floor length strapless gown that hugs and enhances the bosom. A dance studio shows two large-busted women wearing tight sweaters and one woman wearing shorts that bare her legs to the upper thighs. A few pinup photos show three women wearing 1950s one-piece swimsuits that show bare thighs and some cleavage, as well as a woman in a bikini with a full-panty bottom that reveals bare thighs and some moderate cleavage showing above the bra-top.

VIOLENCE/GORE 2 - A man in a hospital bed wears bandages from head to waist, including arms, and on lower legs that are sticking out from a sheet; his face is bandaged and we see some blood at the upper lip.
 A silent film shows two WWI airplanes crashing head on, a wooden building demolished, a WWI plane flying straight into the ground creating smoke, and a soldier firing a machine gun away from the camera.
 A man flies two male passengers in an airplane with the rear door open; one passenger looks sweaty and sick as the pilot turns off both propeller engines and glides and both of the passengers look scared. A woman drives somewhat erratically and three other drivers honk at her. A man trips and falls down a few steps on a staircase, causing film cans to clatter, but is uninjured.
 A man in a hotel room pounds a telephone receiver hard onto a desk several times while shouting. A woman argues with a man, cries, pounds a table, rushes into another room and slams the door. A woman slams down a phone receiver and smashes a vase onto a floor, shattering it loudly. A man argues from an airplane cockpit with flight tower staff. Two men argue loudly, screaming insults. Two men argue briefly. A man and a woman argue loudly for several seconds. A man argues over a telephone and cries briefly. A chef screams loudly in his kitchen.
 An earthquake rumbles briefly and we see dust and some concrete pieces on the floor at the side of a hotel room.
 An unshaven older man lives in his darkened bedroom, in his bed, behind a curtain, and refuses to get out of bed. A man tells his business assistant to give him an enema and the younger man holds the enema bag in the air as the scene ends.

PROFANITY 5 - 1 F-word (muffled), 7 sexual references, 12 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, nutty, nuts, nut, stupid, loony bin, old, deaf, bumpkin, jackals, hoodlum, cheap floozy, Iron Maiden, Virgin Marla, Apple Blossom Queens, Limey), exclamations (wow), 12 religious profanities (GD), 22 religious exclamations (e.g. Blessed Savior, Amen, Oh Lord, Lord In Heaven, For Christ's Sake, For Heaven's Sake, God Forbid, God Rest His Soul, Oh My God). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man asks for codeine three times (we never see it), a man tells another man that drug addiction makes the first man constipated and crazy, a man says that a new drug called Librium is on the market, and a man has a green bottle of what may be aspirin beside him in a film screening room. Three unopened liquor bottles are seen on a kitchen counter, a bottle of champagne is on a table in a darkened hotel bungalow, a woman drinks small glasses of champagne and becomes drunk (she slurs her words and staggers), an inebriated woman falls face down onto her couch, a woman tells two men that she does not drink alcohol, and an elderly man holds a glass of whiskey in a restaurant. Men in different scenes smoke cigarettes on a sidewalk as well as in a hotel room and at a conference table and at a poker table or in a restaurant, a woman smokes a cigarette on a sidewalk, a man has an unlit cigarette in his mouth and another man holds a cigarette lighter, an ashtray on a table is full of cigarette butts and an empty ashtray is shown on a bureau in a bedroom, and a pack of cigarettes is shown on a hotel room desk and on a conference table.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Belief, Christian denominations, parental influence, independence, relationships, love, 1950s America, breaking rules, risk taking, beginning a career, confidence, eccentricity, mental illness, wealth and power.

MESSAGE - Howard Hughes led a strange life that affected many people, for better or worse.

Special Keywords: S5 - V2 - P5 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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