The Dreamers


The Dreamers (2004)


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


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Movie Info

The tumultuous political landscape of Paris in 1968 serves as the backdrop for a tale about three young cineastes who are drawn together through their passion for film. Matthew, an American exchange student, pursuing his education abroad in Paris, becomes friends with a French brother and sister duo, named Guillaume and Danielle, who share a common love of the cinema. While the May 1968 Paris student riots--which eventually shut down most of the French government--are happening around them, the three friends develop a relationship unlike anything Matthew has ever experienced, or will ever encounter again.


Critic Reviews for The Dreamers

All Critics (160) | Top Critics (43)

The pleasures of "The Dreamers" stay mostly on the surface. But when the surface is as stylish and sexy as this, it's hard to complain.

Mar 13, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

A real pleasure.

Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic


Aug 7, 2004

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

Apr 9, 2004 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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

Mar 5, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

Ambitious and uneven, visceral and pungent.

Mar 4, 2004 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Dreamers


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.

Jan Marc Macababayao
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.

Stefanie C
Stefanie C

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.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

"I don't believe in God, but if I did, he would be a black, left-handed guitarist." 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.

For most of its run time, "The Dreamers" is a stunningly beautiful and effectively seductive tale of three youths (one American, two French) who intermingle in a love affair sparked by their love of movies. As tales of foreign dislocation go, this runs circles around "Lost in Translation," and ups the erotic ante to a place so casual that some mentalities may be downright uncomfortable with the lack of sensationalism present. In what is essentially a scaled-down variation on Truffaut's "Jules and Jim," director Bernardo Bertolucci places American student Matthew (Michael Pitt, full of marquee-icon beauty) in Paris, where he meets up with Isabelle (the luscious Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel), whose ambiguous relationship runs the gamut from siblings to twins to lovers; the trio become enmeshed in a love triangle that extends for a month, in the midst of the escalation of military operations in Vietnam and a Communist uprising in France. Bertolucci opens with images of outcry against a blacklisted filmmaker, and concludes with a less-than-convincing paralleling of political protest (the axiom that "all art is political" given an overly literal connotation). The at-times distracting political aspect, however, is a minor complaint in what is, at heart, a hypnotically engaging account of three mysterious teens in the midst of their sexual awakening. "The Dreamers" is, as another critic has already stated, a wonderful valentine to love--and to cinema itself.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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