253 user 193 critic

The Dreamers (2003)

NC-17 | | Drama, Romance | 20 February 2004 (USA)
2:28 | Trailer

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A young American studying in Paris in 1968 strikes up a friendship with a French brother and sister. Set against the background of the '68 Paris student riots.


(screenplay), (based on the novel)
776 ( 150)
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Robin Renucci ...
Jean-Pierre Kalfon ...
Himself (as Jean-Paul Leaud)
Florian Cadiou ...
Pierre Hancisse ...
First Buff
Valentin Merlet ...
Second Buff
Lola Peploe ...
The Usherette
Ingy Fillion ...
Theo's Girlfriend


Paris, spring 1968. While most students take the lead in the May 'revolution', a French poet's twin son Theo and daughter Isabelle enjoy the good life in his grand Paris home. As film buffs they meet and 'adopt' modest, conservatively educated Californian student Matthew. With their parents away for a month, they drag him into an orgy of indulgence of all senses, losing all of his and the last of their innocence. A sexual threesome shakes their rapport, yet only the outside reality will break it up. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for explicit sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |



Release Date:

20 February 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Innocents  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£117,181 (UK) (6 February 2004)


$2,531,462 (USA) (4 June 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the role of Matthew, but turned it down because he was in pre-production with The Aviator (2004). Michael Pitt, who bears considerable resemblance to DiCaprio, was cast in his place. See more »


At the end of the movie, Theo and Isabelle's parents come back to the house and start to whisper to each other in perfect English instead of French. However, as the mother is English (which Isabelle told Matthew when they first met), it should not be surprising that they would converse in English. See more »


[first lines]
Matthew: The first time I saw a movie at the cinématèque française I thought, "Only the French... only the French would house a cinema inside a palace."
See more »

Crazy Credits

The word "events" is misspelled in the sentence stating "The wevents, characters and firms depicted in this photoplay are fictitious." See more »


Dark Star
Written by Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart (as Michael Hart), Robert Hunter,
Bill Kreutzmann (as William Kreutzmann), Phil Lesh, Ron McKernan (as Ronald McKernan),
, Bob Weir
Published by Ice Nine Publishing Co. Inc.
Performed by Grateful Dead
Courtesy of Grateful Dead Productions
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

All dreamers must eventually wake up
10 March 2004 | by (Midwest, USA) – See all my reviews

My rating: 6/10

There are two types of dreamers in `The Dreamers': the three main characters, who create their own interior world and prefer to view the outside world by watching classic 1930s cinema; and the socialist street revolutionaries of riot-torn 1968 Paris, who attempt to overthrow the political and economic power structure. `The Dreamers' focuses more on the former than the latter, and Bernardo Bertolucci is careful to leave his film open to interpretation, but ultimately the dream world of the three main characters is shattered by the realities of life. The film ends before resolving the outcome of the second set of dreamers, but we all know our history. Some may think it a shame that the dreamers fail, but others like myself will view it as something that has to happen, if the dream is unrealistic and unsustainable.

The relationship between the three main characters is unlike anything that I've ever seen portrayed on film. The twins, Isabelle and Theo, are almost as close to each other in young adulthood as they were during the nine months they spent together in their mother's womb. Matthew, a U.S. student studying abroad in Paris, inserts himself into the middle, and when he receives early indications that portend the depth of the relationship between the twins, he does not run away. To me, this required too much suspension of disbelief, but I'm certainly aware that others have different proclivities. If Bertolucci's intent was to show a high degree of separation between his three dreamers and the rest of society, he certainly succeeded.

The three dreamers have some, but ultimately too little, awareness of their separation from reality and the unsustainable nature of the world they create. While sympathizing with the revolutionaries in the street, they actually are the ultimate materialistic consumers: they produce nothing that they consume (neither food nor art), and when the money their parents provide runs out, and they've drained most of the wine cellar, the harsh realities of life set in. Rooting through trash heaps isn't the answer, and the choices that they leave themselves in the end (self-annihilation or nihilism), I believe, show just how flawed their ideal world is. My interpretation is that this lesson also applies to the other set of dreamers, the street revolutionaries, but those who even today sympathize with the views of those revolutionaries will reject this interpretation.

`The Dreamers' is very voyeuristic, and Bertolucci puts his three leads through some incredibly intimate moments. All three leads are quite good, with Eva Green in particular deserving special notice for a completely uninhibited performance (at least the two male leads had each other's example to follow). It's hard to come up with an accurate overall rating for this film, because I think there will be a widespread variance in how different people react to both the storyline and the images. Read the reviews carefully, and if it sounds like something that interests and won't shock you, then give it a try. My middle-of-the-road rating is mainly due to my not being terribly interested in the type of relationship formed by the three main characters.

145 of 185 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Dumb question: Why is he always peeing in the sink? Loe_307
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