The Rules of Attraction 2002 Movie Scene Shannyn Sossamon as Lauren biting her lip and looking seductively into the camera

The Rules of Attraction [2002]

I have a very personal relationship with this movie. The Rules of Attraction hit me just as I was starting my second year at the Uni. It further solidified my already tingling sensation that something might be wrong with the official system of values. With everything I’ve been told all my life and especially about romance and marriage. From this time distance, I can clearly see why all of this happened. This was a truly dark and edgy coming-of-age movie and appealed to my preconceived notions. Or to be even more honest, I wanted to live through all these situations.

I developed this huge crush on Shannyn Sossamon and how she looks in this movie. I kept dreaming about her and if I saw a girl with a similar haircut or looks, I would just freeze. And when she says that she has a joint in her room, I was fucking floored. Enough about that, let us see what we got here. Directed and written by Roger Avary, who was awarded the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the 67th Academy Awards for his work on Pulp Fiction, Rules of Attraction is a deeply subversive and exquisite cinematic experience.

It is based on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho). I would compare it to all those coming-of-age movies like Dazed and Confused, but it’s way too dark and emotional for such a comparison. Perhaps a better example would be neurotic and fascinating Spun. Marketed as a teen comedy, although Avery called it “the assassination of teen comedies.”, it managed to pull off quite a profit on its humble $4 million budget (Box office $11,8 million). This is a comedy, but a dark comedy with a twisted sense of humor. 

And on top of that, it’s a college comedy with all the obligatory drinking, doing drugs, and having sexual adventures stuff you would expect from such a movie. All of these activities are presented from a different perspective than in your usual college comedy. They have this twisted and oddly cool and quirky vibe about them. They are unhealthy, bad, and morally reprehensible. And yet fascinating at the same time.

With impeccable writing and magnificent acting, the characters were the driving force of this movie. They were very realistic and I think that many of you will recognize some of the behavior exhibited here. We all make mistakes and learn from them, but it’s much better to learn from someone else’s mistakes than your own.

Welcome to Camden College in New Hampshire, a place where all the good and all the bad stuff happens. Lauren, Paul, and Sean all go to Camden college but have different sets of challenges and desires. However, their destinies are about to become irreversibly intertwined.

I know that The Rules of Attraction is a movie about spoiled brats living for the next high but that’s on them not on me. I can see how that life looks and more importantly, how it feels. And then I can compare it to my own. From every facet of this movie, thought-provoking ideas are bursting just like in Larry Clark’s Kids or The Chumscrubber. Strong emotions and physical stimuli make you feel alive. And your twenties will soon become the time you felt most alive. 

As with any other coming-of-age movie, the characters will push the boundaries. In this case, they are the unknowns while the college environment is the known. This combination of elements is what makes The Rules of Attraction such a powerful movie. Moreover, both the characters and the situations that they get themselves into are surreally realistic. If such a concept exists. And they’re interesting to observe and study.

These are not the only contrasts in this masterpiece. The Rules of Attraction talks about difficult subjects like rape, suicide, and mental health issues among college students openly. It shows that the best situation can turn into the worst in mere minutes and vice versa. And it does that with style and care, not offending anyone and helping people talk about stuff they felt they couldn’t. Remember if you’re struggling with any of these issues you can always visit Wanna Talk About It. It’s free, anonymous, and easy to use, so do not be afraid to at least check it out. 

Another thing that I loved about this movie is the cinematography and editing. Using the flexible timeline and going back and forth, Avery may have gone a bit style over substance. Luckily, the substance is abundant in this movie. The Rules of Attraction has this magic feeling that takes you back to college if you are a little older, or it intrigues you if you are a little younger.

Director: Roger Avary

Writers: Bret Easton Ellis, Roger Avary

Cast: James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Jessica Biel, Kip Pardue, Kate Bosworth, Faye Dunaway

Fun Facts: Christian Bale turned down an offer to reprise the role of Patrick Bateman.


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