Sean Bateman is a Camden College freshman who is madly in love with Lauren Hyde. She is waiting for her wastrel lover Victor Johnson to return from a tour throughout Europe, while Lauren's ex-boyfriend Paul Denton explores his bisexual side with a fancy on Sean.
"The Rules of Attraction" was directed and co-written by Roger Avary. The cast of the film includes James Van Der Beek (Sean Bateman), Jessica Biel (Lara), Feye Dunaway (Mrs. Denton), Kip Pardue (Victor), and Kate Bosworth (Kelly).
The video begins during the "End of the World" party at the fictitious Camden College in New Hampshire, where students Lauren Hynde, Paul Denton, and Sean Bateman offer apathetic inner monologues about their lives momentarily exchange looks with one another. Lauren, a previously virgin, invites a film student upstairs for sex and falls out; she awakens to herself being raped by a townie. The film student tapes it and thinks about how she had intended to lose her virginity to Victor, her now ex-boyfriend. Meanwhile, Paul, who is bisexual, attempts to have sex with an athlete only to be humiliated when revealed that the athlete is severely closed. Sean is seen wounded and battered, drinking an entire bottle of Jack Daniel's and tearing up a sequence of purple messages before approaching and having sex with a blonde female at the party.
Sean fakes his death after several unsuccessful suicide attempts and, unknowing that Lauren had recently seen a corpse, accidentally hurts her even more, when she discovers him pretending to be dead. Sean tries to contact Lauren again after taking drugs from dealer Rupert, wanting to get to know her. Lauren abandons Sean and tells him he will never know her. She confronts Victor, who has finally returned to Camden College, only to discover that he had sex with Lara and has forgotten who Lauren is, leaving her devastated.
The story then returns to the beginning with the three characters attending the "End of the World" celebration. When Sean sees Lauren walking upstairs with the film student, he realizes he can't be with her. It is then shown that, rather than having sex with the blonde female like he does initially, Sean has an epiphany, reconsiders, and instead leaves his drink and walks out. Paul and Lauren gather on the front porch to discuss the recent events and Sean, whom they see ride away on his motorbike. Sean continues describing his final thoughts, only to have them cut short when the film goes to the end titles.
"Perhaps Sossamon and Somerhalder's characters elicit more sympathy than most Ellis creations, but they are far from innocent. Avary is not trying to paper over harsh truths: an edgy mood of coked-up tension ripples through his campus parties, which aren't fun events but stalking grounds for couples on the lookout for loveless sex. Maybe early on, the director encourages us to laugh at the characters' pretensions. But when real pain enters into the fray, it hits the audience like a kick in the teeth." – Empire
This coming-of-age dramedy is available to stream on w4free right now.