The Dreamers

"Weak"

The Dreamers Review


The last five minutes of Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Dreamers" is a sublimely spot-on graduation for its main character, an unripe American student on a proverbial journey of self-discovery in this erotic drama set against the backdrop of the 1968 Paris riots.

But in the preceding five reels, there isn't much I'd call compelling in its story of a trio of 20-year-old bohemian wannabe-intellectuals who have yet to be comfortable with their own identities, yet frequently launch into polemic and nebulously philosophical pontifications about politics and movies.

The narrating young drifter named Matthew (pouty, ambiguous Michael Pitt from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch") answers the siren song of Isbelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel), a pair of alluringly charismatic, possibly incestuous fraternal twins who invite the American to live in their large, labyrinthine flat for the summer while their bourgeoisie, former poet-bohemian parents are away on holiday.

Seduced by the siblings' outwardly uninhibited aimlessness -- which seems to him more exotic than his own by nature of being French and involving lots of cigarettes -- Matthew engages the easily riled brother in vague, circular political debates, and engages the enticing sister in sex, initially at her brother's insistence. It's Matthew's price for losing at the twins' favorite game of movie-scene charades, in which forfeit apparently always has a sexual price.

But the film's casually edgy eroticism and constant allusions to old movies (Bertolucci shows the relevant clips as the new friends race through the Louvre a la "Bande á part" and chant "One of us! One of us!" a la "Freaks") are in many ways a mask for the fact that Matthew, Theo and Isabelle aren't especially interesting people, except to each other. And as Matthew eventually comes to realize, what looks to an outsider like excitingly wayward worldliness in the twins is really a form of arrested development. Their emotions are so capricious and fleeting that Isabelle can be suicidal one minute and the next inappropriately giddy about joining a Molotov-cocktail-throwing student march.

Bertolucci has a penchant for art-house sensuality ("Last Tango in Paris," "Stealing Beauty"), but the nascent superficiality of these characters' impulsive psyches makes it difficult to invest yourself in their lives -- especially when the director distracts from the film's unpredictable passions with narrative inconsistencies.

At one point he goes out of his way to show that the salacious threesome is desperate and destitute, having burned through the money left by the twins' parents. But while none of them gets a job or finds any other source of income, their money woes are never mentioned again. In fact, Matthew and Isabelle go out to dinner at a nice restaurant barely two scenes later, as he tries to pry her away from her co-dependence on her brother.

Yet only as it approaches a crossroads-of-life climax does "The Dreamers" have anything of substance to say about its characters or their growth, and while the balance of the picture is never boring and the performances are often intense, it's surprisingly unengaging for a movie that revolves around sexual and emotional exploration.



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: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Fresh: 95 Rotten: 61

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

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.