The Rules of Attraction (2002)



Critic Consensus: A tiresome movie about unsympathetic college kids engaging in self-destructive behaviors.

Movie Info

Set in an affluent New England liberal arts college in the 1980's, an emerging sexual triangle emerges between Sean Bateman, who deals drugs on the side, Paul Owen, who's bisexual, and Paul's ex-girlfriend, Lauren.

Rating: R (for strong sexual content, drug use, language and violent images)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Roger Avary
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 18, 2003
Box Office: $6.5M
Lions Gate Films - Official Site


as Sean Bateman

as Lauren Hynde

as Lara Holleran

as Paul Denton

as NYU Film Student

as Victor Johnson

as Mitchell Allen

as Mr. Lance Lawson

as Eve Denton

as Candice

as Guy Rolling Keg

as Mrs. Jared

as Donald

as Food Service Girl

as Quinlivan

as Crack Whore

as Handsome Dunce

as Jamaican Guest

as Hacky Sack Guy

as Maitre D'

as Duty Doctor

as Young Nurse

as At the Player Piano

as Jim From Dartmouth

as Undressed to Get Scr...

as Undressed to Get Scr...

as Undressed to Get Scr...

as Undressed to Get Scr...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Rules of Attraction

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Critic Reviews for The Rules of Attraction

All Critics (143) | Top Critics (32)

Actually I quite enjoyed the movie--but how do I get rid of this awful discharge?

Full Review… | February 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The leads and their accomplices look dead glam, but it's never clear whether their vacuity is a deliberate strategy. Certainly Avary's style seems all for instant gratification.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Ellis' satire, filtered through Avary's harsh lens, is hard to stomach, harder to ignore.

November 19, 2002
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Not for kids, and not for many adults, either.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

Will either fascinate or infuriate you, sometimes within the same moment--and it's difficult imagining the film working any better if it did not.

Full Review… | December 30, 2008

When a movie is described by some critics as morally repellent and by others as innovative and brilliant, it means at the very least that it's controversial and touching a nerve in the collective consciousness.

Full Review… | September 25, 2008

Audience Reviews for The Rules of Attraction


Yup, that's pretty much how i remember college, AFU

brook - class of '87

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


Paul Denton: I feel like my life lacks forward momentum, ya know.

"There Are No Rules"

The Rules of Attraction was a very disappointing movie for me. Not because it was really bad or poorly made, but because it never was able to get its point across in a way that was satisfying. Along the way, the film has some interesting commentary and dark humor, but the message is lost. I haven't read the book, but I'm guessing that the movie left out something that was vitally important in getting the message across clearly. 

This follows a love triangle at Camden University, where rich, young men and women go to party, do drugs, and have sex. I think classes go on there too, but it doesn't seem like many of the characters really give a shit. The love triangle is between Sean, Paul, and Lauren. Sean is a part-time drug dealer who falls in love with Lauren. Paul is a bisexual, who used to date Lauren and now has a thing for Sean. Lauren is a virgin, who is waiting for her boyfriend to come back from Europe, but also wants to lose her virginity.

As far as college movies go, this one is completely different. It's dark, it's odd, and it all seems very hateful. There's no sympathy for the characters which isn't something that has ever made me hate a movie, and it doesn't make me hate this one. What made this a disappointment for me was that it had such promise the whole time, and then we get to the end and I'm just left confused at what the actual point is. 

This is an entertaining movie that has some good things too say and some not so good things to say. In the end though I was left wanting more from it and it looks like that is the general response from most viewers. I'm not going to say to pass on it because it really isn't a bad movie, but I reserve myself from recommending it also. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Despite the great soundtrack, decent performances and expert direction, this drama feels a bit sterile, depicting with clever irony the moral decline of our society but not as efficient in making us relate to its shallow, unlikable characters.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

The Rules of Attraction Quotes

– Submitted by David D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by David D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by David D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by David D (2 years ago)

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