7.2/10
108,965
268 user 199 critic

The Dreamers (2003)

NC-17 | | Drama, Romance | 20 February 2004 (USA)
Trailer
2:30 | Trailer
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.

Writers:

Gilbert Adair (screenplay), Gilbert Adair (based on the novel)
Reviews
Popularity
513 ( 466)
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Pitt ... Matthew
Eva Green ... Isabelle / Sister
Louis Garrel ... Theo / Brother
Anna Chancellor ... Mother
Robin Renucci ... Father
Jean-Pierre Kalfon ... Self
Jean-Pierre Léaud ... Self (as Jean-Paul Leaud)
Florian Cadiou ... Patrick
Pierre Hancisse Pierre Hancisse ... First Buff
Valentin Merlet Valentin Merlet ... Second Buff
Lola Peploe Lola Peploe ... The Usherette
Ingy Fillion Ingy Fillion ... Theo's Girlfriend
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Bertolucci returns to politics & sex. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where Isabelle's hair catches fire happened unplanned. Eva Green was supposed to lean forward and kiss Matthew goodnight but accidentally caught her hair on fire on the candle on the table. She didn't let it worry her and acted so natural that Bernardo Bertolucci decided to leave it in as he felt it perfectly anticipated the theme that things are about to get a bit crazy. See more »

Goofs

Position of the father's hands, when he realizes Matthew isn't listening to him at the dinner table. See more »

Quotes

[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."
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Crazy Credits

A Carbonneutral production through Future Forests. Indigenous trees have been planted to balance the carbon dioxide created through the production of this film. See more »

Alternate Versions

US R-rated version runs ca. 3 minutes shorter than the uncut NC-17-rated version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Los Colores Pardos (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Ball and Chain
(1967)
Written by Big Mama Thornton
Published by Bro 'N Sis Music, Inc.
(All Rights in the United States controlled by Bro 'N Sis Music, Inc. c/o Carlin America,
Inc.) & Cristeval Music (All Rights for the World, Exclusive of the United States, Controlled by Bronx Flash Music,
, Inc.)
Performed by Big Brother and the Holding Company
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

 
All dreamers must eventually wake up
10 March 2004 | by cs100See 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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | France | Italy | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

20 February 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dreamers See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$142,632, 8 February 2004

Gross USA:

$2,532,228

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,121,165
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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