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Reviews & Ratings for
The Dreamers More at IMDbPro »

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21 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

What precedes dreaming is deep sleep

Author: n2j3 from Greece
24 January 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


Is Bernardo Bertollucci showing his age in this mediocrity or is his reactionary outlook laid bare? "The Dreamers" is bad cinema at its best. The parisian setting of "that" 1968 spring is but an excuse for an essentially superficial commentary.Prior to watching it i read a review that portrayed the film as 'an account of the sexually perplexed life of three characters and their contemporary (political?) worries.' So far so good. As the reel unfolded I managed to identify four (4) points of contention that could double as 'worries' [i.e. arguments/points relevant to the undoubtedly turbulent setting]

1. The pseudo-philosophical ramblings of Matthew (Michael Pitt) in the avec parents dinner where a Zippo(tm) lighter serves as the vehicle of a wholistic expose [we're all part of a bigger plan, everything's in total harmony etc.]Interesting. [heh]

2. An evocation of Vietnam in a dialogue between Theo [Louis Garrel] and Matthew. Again, simplification at its best. Americans kill villagers vs. Americans are obligated to join the army. [Similar to Southpark's "Drugs are bad...mkay?"]

3. A critique of communism that would make Western cold war propaghandists stutter. (Mao as the director of a cast of "extras" etc.)

4. A vague 'respect' for Cinema [note the capital C] that materialises in the 3D pictionary the characters enjoy playing [in the form of "guess the film" etc]. So long for French film theory and critique [film theory was incedentally at its peak around that time];)

Even if we disregard the setting (afterall, it could have been set in 80s Paris for all that matters) and focus on the story itself [the three lovers etc] we see the dynamic of this threesome numbed; just when their relationship is about to get out of hand Matthew makes sure to remind Isabelle [Eva Green] the merits of monogamous "dating" and sharing a glass of soda etc. 1/10

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26 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Mr.Bertolucci, you dirty old man

Author: thehellhole from Austria
4 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mon dieu, "The Dreamers" is one crappy art-house movie! It's highly self-indulgent, pretentious and offers nothing except a glimpse on Eva Green's luscious anatomy (and some bare butts and small sized wieners for the more female male out there).

The story is paper-thin and laughable at times. The "shocking moments" in the movie (rubbing menstruation blood in the face, incest, masturbation while someone is watching, etc..) all feel forced and do not serve the story at all. There are more subtle ways to show that the main characters are deranged and decadent than wanting someone to shave pubic hair as a proof of love.

Here's the basic outline of the story: naive American student meets French twins while protesting at the cinematheque in Paris. They invite him to live with them at their flat while mommy and daddy are away on a long long trip. The three create their own world of rebellion and decadence and screw everything up in the end.

There were two hilarious scenes I really could enjoy: 1) "The Dreamers" are out of money and food, so naked Theo (the twin bro) puts on a jacket (nothing else) and goes straight for the garbage can in the backyard to find something to eat. I literally could not stop laughing!

2) Isabelle (the twin sis) finds daddy's paycheck and realizes that their parents visited them while they were sleeping naked in the tent, so she decides that they have to commit suicide because of the shame. She takes a hose from the kitchen to kill the boys and herself with gas. But SUDDENLY there's a riot on the street, they all wake up, Isabell has to change her plan, quickly puts back the hose and tries to act casual.

The characters in "The Dreamers" act "highly illogical" as Mr. Spock would say. This fact combined with the impression that all three are arrogant morons, who think "Well, f*** up the system, cause daddy is going to fix it!", makes the story really offensive. I'm in my late 20ies but I wanted to kick them all in the nuts, except Eva Green, mainly for anatomical reasons.

If you want to see an interesting film about incest, dysfunctional relationships and consequences watch "The Cement Garden" or way better, read the book by Ian McEwan.

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46 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

From Sexual Hedonism To Political Activism

Author: hokeybutt from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
4 March 2005

THE DREAMERS (3 outta 5 stars) Interesting project by the renowned director Bernardo Bertolucci... dealing with the events of 1968 in France... a time of great social upheaval, as rioting students took to the streets to shut down the French government. The main characters are a young American student who has come to France to study film... and a very unconventional brother and sister who recruit him to their offbeat lifestyle. All three are obsessed by film (as many young people were in 1968... the glory days of the avant garde)... and also with the concept of breaking rules and societal taboos. With their parents away for the month and the flat to themselves, bets are made on film trivia and the penalties for not identifying a particular moment from a particular film become more and more shocking. Only leaving their home to watch films, the trio are basically oblivious to the growing trouble in the streets... until finally they can sit passively no more. Very intriguing concept and the acting is fine... but ultimately I thought the conclusion fell a little flat... the transition from sexual hedonism to political activism didn't really work for me... it all seemed a little abrupt and could have been explored a little deeper. Worth watching and discussing though.

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39 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

More like penance than entertainment

Author: fertilecelluloid from Mountains of Madness
20 June 2005

Two interminably pretentious Parisians (Eva Green and Louis Garrel) and one detestable American (Michael Pitt) are cinephiles who decide to shack up in Rich Daddy's bohemian French apartment for a binge of sex, alcohol, more sex and rambling philosophy. After an hour, the effect is gross boredom.

The film's supposedly "erotic" NC-17-rated sex scenes were touted as a good reason to see this turgid rubbish. Yes, we do see some penises and we do see Green's dull vagina, but these characters are so crushingly vapid that the care factor is less than zero.

The film does have a political backdrop and it does use clips from old French and Hollywood classics to underline and parallel the central story, but it all comes across as empty because nobody thought to give these ghastly characters anything to do or want.

Spending almost two hours with them felt like penance.

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21 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Acting straight?

Author: Ian Chapman from London, England
9 February 2004

Asked to explain the almost total absence of the homoerotic element of his novel, screenwriter Gilbert Adair has cited the need for the three main actors, who are heterosexual, to feel 'comfortable' in their roles.

One thinks back to the generations of gay lead actors and actresses who managed to convince audiences of their attraction to co-stars for whom they can have felt nothing. This particular skill is known as ACTING - a skill apparently not expected of the pampered little darlings here.

Not that they looked particularly comfortable, anyway, in their protracted cavortings. Perhaps, given the illustrious name of their director, they expected to find themselves in something more reputable than the slice of kinky soft-core porn on display here.

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25 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Tragedy of a Ridiculous Director

Author: PurityofEssence100 from Vancouver, Canada
4 March 2004

Even by today's standards Bertolucci's films of the early 70's, The Conformist and Last Tango in Paris, are powerful mixes of seductive Italian movie making with a fiery, if pessimistic, brand of Marx's Freudian politics.

Now three decades later Bernardo returns to scene of his great triumphs to see if he can't turn one more cinematic trick. His new film The Dreamers should

have had a lot going for it. What couldn't you do with a three way sexual

encounter staged in Paris in the midst of May '68? And the fact the story's three young `dreamers' are also cinema buffs should provide for an interesting twist or two, plot or otherwise. But my God, what on Earth was the great Italian

director thinking? This movie is singularly awful. Two hours of pointless

pretentious masturbatory (literally) drivel! The film's underlying problem is not technical; it's not the acting, staging, or even the directing. Some of the sets, like the kids' tent, are actually quite beautiful. The problem of the movie is

conceptual! Bertolucci thirty years along has absolutely nothing original to say about people or politics, music or art, sex or life.

Which is ironic given that the historical setting of The Dreamers is May '68, probably the greatest revolutionary moment of the past fifty years. May '68 is the historical moment out of which the notion that the authority of the state had so ingrained itself into the conscious and unconscious discourse of the culture that our modern way of life, which prides itself on being `democratic" and free, is now mired in a horrible situation of unfreedom. More than anything else this modern state of unfreedom, this end of the `Enlightenment', has been THE

problem for critical thinkers of the past half-century. But you won't find anything than more than a wisp of that historic problem here. For the Dreamers May '68 is a time to remember the way we were, a sentimental education, in which the

characters argue in the most uninteresting and almost banal terms about

movies and music (Hendrix was better than Clapton!), while exploring their

adolescent sexuality. And I really didn't think it was possible to make sex seem so boring. But there it is.

Like generals and whores there is always something pathetic (and ridiculous)

about a film director who tries to remount a great triumph thirty years after the fact. Bernardo, of you, I had always dreamed of better.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

The Dreamers

Author: FilmFanatic09 from United States
4 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The characters of "The Dreamers" love movies. They pass their time quoting them, reenacting scenes from them, and debating age-old questions such as the merits of Chaplin versus Keaton. When at the cinema, they make sure to sit in the rows closest to the screen. Why? So the images will reach them before anyone else, while still fresh. If this strikes you as illogical, perhaps "The Dreamers" isn't the movie for you. This is a film about film lovers and will likely be most appreciated by lovers of film in return. The basic narrative follows Matthew, a young American (the boyish Michael Pitt), who is studying in Paris during the late 60s, the time of the student riots. The film does a good job of setting up the loneliness which engulfs him in this foreign place, so we are quick to understand why he so eagerly accepts the offer to stay with French twins Isabelle and Theo (Eva Green and Louis Garrel) he has met at- where else?- the cinema.

As the three take up life in their spacious Parisian flat, vacated by the twins' parents while abroad, Matthew senses that something about these two is a bit off. It isn't long before he is aware of the incestuous undertones constantly present in the twins' interactions with one another. In attempting to confirm that their relationship does have some degree of limitations, Matthew questions Isabelle, receiving the chilling response, "He is always inside of me." It may be reassuring to Matthew, as well as many audience members, that no, these characters never sleep together in the literal sense. What is at work here is something much more difficult to explain. The film handles it well. Eventually, in an attempt to break Isabelle out of her self-inflicted dependency on her brother, Matthew asks her on a date, which proves to be the most joyfully innocent moment of the film. From here, things turn slightly ambiguous and the film opts to relinquish the personal, in favor of a more political ending. It is interesting to note the closing credits run over chanteuse Edith Piaf's "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" (No, I Regret Nothing). If we knew whether or not this was chosen in irony, a lot would be explained.

One can't help compare "The Dreamers" to Bertolucci's other Parisian-set exploration of erotica, "Last Tango in Paris." That film contained two lovers who were very much dead inside. "The Dreamers" contains three who are filled with youthful exuberance and have seemingly endless passion for things such as politics and the arts. Both films are frank and graphic in how they depict sex. As a matter of course, both stirred much controversy. I suspect many people will watch "The Dreamers" already expecting to be incensed by it. That is their loss. For those who are willing, "The Dreamers" can be a changing experience. What exactly it changes, however, is certainly bound to vary from person to person. Perhaps it will force you to reconsider your political outlook. Possibly it will alter how you view societally unacceptable relationships. Conceivably it could lead you to the realization of just how great an impact the films have on some people and their existence. Or maybe it will change your stance on who really was better: Chaplin or Keaton?

Side note: I found it endlessly refreshing to find a film where characters spoke in their native language when appropriate, and the audience was forced to make-do with subtitles.

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21 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

complete crap, frankly

Author: Foxterrier from Winnipeg, MB
15 March 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've never been so harsh in a one line summary, but there it is. I had a feeling within the opening minutes that oh-oh, I've made a mistake here. I'm kicking myself now for not sneaking out of my seat and into the theatre next door.

Forgive me, but even if a story is wholly fictional, a yarn from end to end, you still need to BELIEVE in it, and it's characters, in order to enjoy the tale. With this one I couldn't, not from the first frames.

That's not true. I did enjoy the opening titles, the way the names appeared and disappeared like dancers within the steel lattice of the Eiffel Tower. But right after that, as soon as "Matthew" started telling us this fake memoir of what he supposedly did in Paris in 1968, my internal bulls--- meter spoke up like a rude child. "You're not Matthew, you're some actor in a French movie directed by some guy with a big ego and a whoop-to-do reputation, and the year is 2003 not 1968." Naturally I waited for story to get involving so as to shut up my internal little kid, but it didn't and he didn't either.

Moving ahead now, let me just say that the lead actress is pretty. Very pretty. Embarrassingly so. And when she says of her brother Theo, "he is always inside me," well, that pretty much speaks for all of us. Like one of John and Bo Derek's classics, two hours spent watching Isabelle prancing around in and out of her negligee would probably be both terrible yet...very worthwhile. Spoiler warning to future husbands: there's not much in the way of secrets left to tell.

But the rest of this crap is crap. I've never seen a French movie try to look French before, but this one does. I've never seen a poet look more like hapless clerk from a hardware store, but their father does. And I've never seen two actors playing brother and sister who are so clearly pretending. You can feel it. The two sisters in "In America" FELT like sisters, not just because in real life they are. To me, the relationship between Isabelle and Theo just doesn't ring true.

None of this rings true. And now I've spent more time writing this bad review than I did watching the stupid film. A movie with sex is probably wonderful, but atleast put a decent movie around it.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Bertolucci has made a remarkable film!

Author: boyan-denizov ( from Russe, Bulgaria
19 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Yesterday I watched "Dreamers".I admit i had had prejudices about the film.I have seen "Last tango..." and I did not like it(check my comments about it)but this film is much more mature.Although it is about 2 hours i didn't feel bored.The shooting is brilliant,the dialogues are very well-written.All three leading actors play very emotionally and convincingly,bearing in mind their youth and relative inexperience.There are many aspects of life mixed in this film and analyzed deeply and intelligently:coming of age,America vs.France in the field of culture,history(the riots and complexities of 1968 Paris revolution),the radicalism of young people and their uneasy relations with their parents and of course the phenomenon of cinema(not only the pluses of it but its minuses too)I admire Bertolucci's bravery in putting this aspect of cinema as a problem to be discussed-that sometimes cinema not so much REFLECTS life rather than REPLACES it.Even Isabelle's attempted suicide is theatrical and indeed the brother and sister's infatuation with cinema prevents them from growing into mature personalities,from leading a more"real" life.This film is so rich and complex that it should be a subject of a medium article and not just of a comment like this one.I would rate it 7 out of 10.I would have given an even higher mark had it not been about the incest theme which I find superfluous and disgusting and ultimately unnecessary and had it not been on the too-graphic to my taste sexual scenes and showing of male and female genitalia.Here in Bulgaria it is not recommended for people under 16 which I think is correct as young people may accept this film in a wrong way. I am sure this film will be perceived as one of the most interesting artistic achievements of the last several years.

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18 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Ingenious film-making? are you kidding me?

Author: deelilian-1 from Australia
18 June 2005

I want to comment on Mr. Roland's 'review' on this film that's pasted as a primary user comment on this site. What are you talking about, sir? Beautiful film making? Yes, Bertolucci has employed a few ingenious cinematography tricks, but the film is utterly pointless. Like someone who has too much to say (or too little), the message, the plot, the POINT of the entire film was lost, awash in masturbatory gestures (pardon the pun) of an aging, decaying, film maker. Mr. Roland, it is a shame that you sang such high praises to this motion picture, JUST BECAUSE the smörgåsbord of monumental scenes from classic masterpieces managed to pull a veil over your eyes, disguising the failure of this film as a piece of artwork, worthy of an audience's ATTENTION! wake up! As for me? that was '2-hour-period of my life that i would never get back'.

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