The Dreamers

"Excellent"

The Dreamers Review


It's unfortunate that, far too often, the audience for a film is based on marketing hype, and therefore doesn't interact with the material on a more personal level. Bernardo Bertolucci is especially infamous for making films that contain explicit sexual content, and the combination of this renown and an NC-17 rating has had critics flocking to The Dreamers, if only to see how much shock value has been created.

But appreciating The Dreamers has nothing to do with pushing the audience in directions they shirk from. The sex and nudity, while physically bare to the eye, come more from the standpoint of natural innocence than pornographic prowess. The added connotations towards incest have also had people bubbling at the mouth. However, if you are able to ignore all these preconceptions, The Dreamers becomes a simple, and beautifully crafted, story of three individuals who test each other and themselves for a short period of time.

Set against the 1968 student riots in Paris, The Dreamers affectionately mixes youthful exploration, love of intellect, and the way personal desires can battle versus community involvement. Matthew (Michael Pitt, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Murder by Numbers) is an American studying in Paris and obsessed with cinema. He happens to connect with a pair of siblings while at a rally who invite him to stay over while their parents are away.

Michael is Isabelle's (newcomer Eva Green) first experience being with a man outside her brother Theo (Louis Garrel), and her seemingly random reactions between vulnerability and arrogance are absolutely captivating. Delicious questions are left in the air as the plot progresses, and allow for anything to happen. Will any of the uncomfortable moments that continue force Michael into rebelling against his hosts' eccentricities? Will Michael's presence provoke Theo and/or Isabelle to venture away from their so-far comfortable nest? Will Theo's mounting cultural aggravation, and Isabelle's attraction to another man, compel him to participate in the tension he hears out his window?

The internal and external pressures play off each other as the film unfolds a personal journey that melds with finding one's place in society. Because each of the three leads is in the process of defining themselves, their tendency towards manipulation of one another is consistently fresh and compelling to watch. They serve as a superb microcosm of the angst at the time. With The Dreamers, Bertolucci shows us a great impression of Paris in 1968, combined with some aptly chosen archival moments, and then zooms in to personalize the zeitgeist that is no longer available to us.

While there are moments that are perhaps too ponderous, or even unnecessarily repetitive, the acting is strong enough to keep interest intact, and if not, the gorgeous cinematography certainly will. The Dreamers, in many respectable ways, encapsulates the sense of innocence and adventure we all wish to carry with us, for as much as it entertains and frightens.

DVD extras on this unique and disturbing film include a crew commentary (including Bertolucci and the writer and producer), a making-of documentary, a historical look at France in 1968, and -- gulp -- a music video of Pitt singing, which Bertolucci directed.

Dreaming a little dream.



The Dreamers

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th October 2003

Box Office USA: $2.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $14.3M

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Production compaines: Peninsula Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Fresh: 95 Rotten: 61

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Matthew, as Isabelle, as Theo, as Mother, as Father, as Himself, Jean-Pierre Léaud as Himself, Florian Cadiou as Patrick, Pierre Hancisse as First Buff, as Second Buff, Lola Peploe as The Usherette, Ingy Fillion as Theo's Girlfriend

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.