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The Dreamers

The Dreamers (2003)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 156
Fresh: 95 | Rotten: 61

Though lushly atmospheric, The Dreamers doesn't engage or provoke as much as it should.


Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 42
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 18

Though lushly atmospheric, The Dreamers doesn't engage or provoke as much as it should.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 45,672

My Rating

Movie Info

Veteran Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci directs the erotic drama The Dreamers, adapted from the novel The Holy Innocents: A Romance by Gilbert Adair. American student Matthew (Michael Pitt) is studying in Paris during the politically turbulent late '60s. The story begins in 1968 with the firing of Henri Langlois, the founder of the French Cinémathèque. At a protest demonstration, Matthew meets cinema-obsessed Isabelle (Eva Green) and her twin brother, Theo (Louis Garrel). When their



Gilbert Adair

Jul 13, 2004


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All Critics (163) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (95) | Rotten (61) | DVD (24)

A real pleasure.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic


August 7, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Swept away by the intensity of the characters' movie debates and sexual games, Bertolucci often recaptures the film-besotted spirit of the period.

March 5, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ambitious and uneven, visceral and pungent.

March 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film about youth and passion that seems old and passionless.

February 26, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Its nostalgia and narcissism are ultimately two versions of the same thing, and neither can reopen cross-cultural channels. Instead they keep this story stuck in the past, frozen and intact and irrelevant.

February 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Legendary director Bernardo Bertolucci ("1900") crafts a return to social revolt in the form of sexual pursuits by a trio of late '60s teenaged students in this engaging yet insufficient movie.

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source:

Despite the movie's well-earned NC-17, Bertolucci's own ménage à trois favors cinephilia over the related pleasures of politics and sex.

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Bertolucci tops himself.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

It's an amusing, sophisticated movie, true to its times, cheerfully erotic, and played with unselfconscious conviction by its three young actors.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The film is at once a celebration of the sexual revolution and a celebration of cinema as the secular equivalent of religion, at a time when movies really mattered.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Fans of film and gorgeous naked people of either sex will find much here to interest them. But it also has moments that make you want to throw stones.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The venue for Pitt's marvelous coming-out performance.

May 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

...we feel stranded on a soundstage, mummy-wrapped in film studies and bereft of any genuine emotion.

January 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

It's a hot sequence that nudges the boundary of taste, but still manages to come off more as art than porn.

January 3, 2005 Full Review Source: JWR

The Dreamers is a richly imagined, boldly acted ode to the delirium of a generation that didn't know it was dreaming.

November 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Maclean's Magazine
Maclean's Magazine

Maybe the worst thing Bertolucci has done is make a good film that is too blithe to distance itself from the offensively precious one it constantly threatens to be.

August 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

The cultural revolution reflected in the personal lives of the young people is a distraction. Better to enjoy the movie for the beauty and delight of its love story alone.

June 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Only time will tell if The Dreamers is a great film. I think it is at the least a very good one.

June 3, 2004

It's all quite soporific, because nothing is at stake and there's no reason to care about these self-absorbed twits.

May 22, 2004 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan | Comment (1)
San Diego Metropolitan

Bertolucci indulges too much in the great sin of nostalgia, thus reducing the film's political firepower by washing it in a hazy wave of 'Remember when ...'

April 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Not good for you, but wickedly pleasurable all the same.

April 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Bertolucci and Adair have made a beguiling tribute to the glorious indeterminacy of youth.

April 9, 2004 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY

For all its multi-layered sexuality, the film's bottom line is all about the destruction of the characters' dreams when those dreams are touched by reality.

April 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Dreamers

Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers is a love letter/tribute to the 1960's New wave cinema, the political movements and of the era in general (although it actually cheapens the work of the activists that it tries to acknowledge). I liked the interweaving footage of classic films and how the characters reenacted them but that's pretty much as far as my enthusiasm goes for this film. It doesn't come close to the films it tries to emulate, the script is far from intelligent, the acting is OK but the characters are unlikable and actually quite unbelievable - I think this is down to bad direction, the actors were pretending, almost mimicking but not acting and it is neither erotic or sensual. Just because you see Eva Green's genitalia, does not make it sexy - If erotic is bathing in someones period blood and shagging ones own sibling then I'm quite happy to report there is nothing erotic about me. Seriously though, I'm no prude - there is story here but it's not 'Ultra sexy' films it's been hailed as. The Telegraph is quoted as saying 'Sometimes forbidden fruit is the most delectable' - dirty newspaper, I mean really, boobs are great but not when they belong to your sister! This film is as fake as it comes, maybe it's 40 years too late but then not all of the New wave was credible. For me It was like like a bad Godard, but worse.
March 5, 2012

Super Reviewer

Wild and ambitious, The Dreamers is a Bernardo Bertolucci masterpiece that candidly declares an erotic affection for cinema with references to Breathless, Band Of Outsiders, and other classics. For cinephiles, The Dreamers is a daring and nostalgic exploration of cinema, sex, and politics with equally daring performances from the talented ménage à trois - Michael Pitt, Eva Green, and Louis Garrel. Strictly for mature audiences only.
October 5, 2011
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

'Strange, beautiful.....and you'll never hear surf music again.' The soundtrack aptly begins and ends with the Hendrix tune, serving both as testament and summary.
December 20, 2010

Super Reviewer

It's artistic and political and psychological and sexual, but I can't say all those themes really jived. The filmic commentary helps to establish the trio's friendship in fun and moving ways, but it doesn't have much to do with the political payoff. The social unrest bookends the historical relevance of the movie, but there's no definitive extolling or damning of Matthew's pacifism. Isabelle and Theo's twisted codependence and Matthew and Isabelle's sexual awakening are equally awkward and titillating, but the film seems to treat these issues as face value quirks. There's no subsequent discussion after Isabelle breaks down at Theo's door. There's no revelation of Isabelle's attempted suicide. There's no consequence to their parents finding out.

Michael Pitt has the most interesting face. It's so naive yet bold. He does have beautiful lips.
September 11, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. 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."
    – Submitted by Maria Y (6 months ago)
    1. Matthew: It makes films like crimes, and directors like criminals.
    – Submitted by Maria Y (6 months ago)
    1. Matthew: As we walked, we talked and talked and talked about politics, about movies, and about why the French could never come close to producing a good rock band.
    – Submitted by Maria Y (6 months ago)
    1. Matthew: I was one of the insatiables. The ones you'd always find sitting closest to the screen. Why do we sit so close? Maybe it was because we wanted to receive the images first. When they were still new, still fresh. Before they cleared the hurdles of the rows behind us. Before they'd been relayed back from row to row, spectator to spectator; until worn out, secondhand, the size of a postage stamp, it returned to the projectionist's cabin. Maybe, too, the screen was really a screen. It screened us... from the world.
    – Submitted by Maria Y (6 months ago)
    1. Matthew: Yes, I'm drunk. And you're beautiful. And tomorrow morning, I'll be sober but you'll still be beautiful.
    – Submitted by Maria Y (6 months ago)
    1. Matthew: I don't want to be loved very much, I just want to be loved.
    – Submitted by Maria Y (6 months ago)
View all quotes (13)

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