Dreamers, The (2003)

Original Title : Dreamers, The
Director : Bernardo Bertolucci
Writer : Gilbert Adair
Genre : Drama
Country : UK
Language : French and English
Producer : Hercules Bellville , John Bernard , Jeremy Thomas , Peter Watson
Photography : Fabio Cianchetti
MPAA Rating : Rated NC-17 for explicit sexual content.
IMDB ID : 0309987
Official site :
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poster for "Dreamers, The" by Bernardo Bertolucci (2003)
Dreamers, The (2003) - Bernardo Bertolucci


Michael Pitt Matthew
Eva Green Isabelle
Louis Garrel Theo
Anna Chancellor Mother
Robin Renucci Father
Jean-Pierre Kalfon Himself
Jean-Pierre Léaud Himself
Florian Cadiou Patrick
Valentin Merlet Second Buff
Lola Peploe The Usherette


The tumultuous political landscape of Paris in 1968 serves as the backdrop for a tale about three young cineastes who are drawn together through their passion for film. Matthew, an American exchange student, pursuing his education abroad in Paris, becomes friends with a French brother and sister duo, named Theo and Isabelle, who share a common love of the cinema. While the May 1968 Paris student riots--which eventually shut down most of the French government--are happening around them, the three friends develop a relationship unlike anything Matthew has ever experienced, or will ever encounter again.


Loses steam in the second half(**1/2) "The Dreamers", Bernardo Bertolucci's NC-17 rated movie about sex, riots and film in 1968 Paris is a meaningful and worthwhile film. In fact, parts of it are so good that when it loses a lot of steam in the second hour, it hurts. Matthew (Michael Pitt, from "Bully" and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch") is an American student in Paris, a film-lover at a time and place where being one (and seeing films by controversial New Wave directors like Jean-Luc Godard) was actually a political and revolutionary gesture. He meets attractive French twins Isabelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel) who are also young and have similar interests. Matthew is staying in a hotel but his new friends Isabelle and Theo invite him to stay in their large house while their parents are away. In this house over the next few weeks, with a student riot brewing in the streets outside, the three of them engage in various sexual games with one another, pushing each other further and further. Matthew is highly put off at first by the creepy, nearly-sexual intimacy between the twins, but at a time in history where ANYTHING outside of the norm feels like a revolutionary gesture, he is swept along, exhilarated by any opportunity to push the boundaries. The first hour of "The Dreamers" is excellent. The period detail, soundtrack (including lots of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin), cinematography, acting...all is nearly perfect. So it's a shame when it becomes repetitive and flat for much of the second half. Unlike a lot of reviewers, I don't have any problems with Michael Pitt's performance. I think he portrays the initially blank, impressionable Matthew quite well. The film is pretentious and sometimes slow-going in that second hour, but when it works, it's gripping and damn good. A story of three students, emotionally adrift at a time of swift social change, eagerly pushing cultural and sexual boundaries but perhaps unprepared for the consequences, this is not a story you get at the movies very often. One thing is for sure, it's for adults only. The NC-17 rating is well-earned, and the sex scenes here will take all but the most mentally prepared art film aficionados quickly out of their comfort zone. It's disappointing in the end, but has enough powerful moments to be well worth taking notice of.
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