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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 36.84%
Average: 12.28%
Pretty Bad: 3.51%
Total Crap: 1.75%

5 reviews, 27 user ratings

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Dreamers, The
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by Natasha Theobald

"Life is but a dream, sweetheart."
5 stars

I love this movie. The experience of it washes over you like the warm water of a languorous bath, and you are changed. While many may find parts of the film objectionable on their face, the same events when taken with the spirit of innocence in which they are offered lend to a more forgiving watchful eye. This movie isn't about right or wrong; it is about experience and the gray areas which define us with more subtlety and grace than anything black and white ever could. The characters and their actions are not here to be judged, or even understood, necessarily. They are just here. Thank goodness.

It is Paris in 1968, and Matthew (Michael Pitt) is an American abroad. He spends a good deal of his time at the cinema, but it isn't until said cinema is shocked by protest that he meets some fellow movie lovers, French twins Isabelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel). They bring him home to meet their parents (Anna Chancellor and Robin Renucci), poets and thinkers. They offer him friendship, and, when the parents leave for a trip, they invite him into their apartment and into their lives.

The initial friendship is based on a common love for movies, and we are fortunate that director Bernardo Bertolucci is able to use, to great effect, pieces from the films that the characters reference. They speak in the language of film. It is their common experience. It brings them together and offers an opportunity to know one another through the art that has moved and influenced them all.

As the intimacy of their acquaintance grows, Matthew is opened into the world of the twins, as they experience it. No longer an outsider to them, he is embraced in the depth of their secret life together. The characters are laid, quite literally, bare, and a sexual undercurrent is exposed to the raw, harsh light of day. Matthew's initial shock and resistance slips into abandon as his life and limbs become entwined with those of the twins. He becomes essential to the deepest parts of what they share, and the trio lets any semblance of external propriety or moral certainty become obscured in a dream-like trance of flesh and experience and emotion.

The apartment becomes like an island apart, and the three live together unbound by anything. They share thoughts and feelings and desires, never fully waking to the reality of a world separate from this place, daring to hope that it will not intrude. Intrude it does, however, and the spell of the brief moment of suspended time and space is brought crashing into the future, into history.

Bertolucci elicits strong and fearless performances from his young actors. There is no apparent tension, no "I can't believe we are doing this" pause in momentum, except where it is an appropriate character reaction. They are all in, and the story benefits. No lines are drawn, and there maintains a feeling of limitlessness, the kind which comes with youth and idealism. It is a remarkable feeling to achieve, and, as a member of the audience, I am grateful for the chance to remember it.

This movie may not be for everyone, a fact I admit and accept. However, if you think it holds the promise of something for you, do not hesitate to find it. It is seldom that one feels truly moved or inspired, and the chance at it is worth any risk.

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originally posted: 03/10/05 11:01:42
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/13/07 al smith good movie eva greens body is amazing what a pair of tits and bush 4 stars
3/01/07 fiona provocative.....artistic...a little bit sexy too. 4 stars
12/01/06 moonsilver beautiful,fasinating, saw it twice in same night 5 stars
11/16/06 David Pollastrini a porno movie masquerading as art! 4 stars
9/01/06 William Goss Pleasant and pretentious in equal measure. Green's certainly easy on the eyes, however. 3 stars
12/02/05 brian lee best movie & awesome 5 stars
8/17/05 shibu andrews outstanding,identifying myself,purify myself, 5 stars
8/03/05 Hockeytown Frustrating waiting for youth to take a stand for something 4 stars
6/07/05 Alex St. John The Dreamers is an amazing film that touches base with many topics still present today. 5 stars
4/19/05 Danny VERY strange. Leads are good, especially Pitt. 4 stars
3/21/05 Richard Pryor mmmmm, strange movie 4 stars
1/13/05 Amy Kennedy Wonderful movie for cinephiles 5 stars
11/08/04 g s induma vary vary good move 5 stars
8/29/04 jennifer it was the best movie i have ever seen so much emotion it was awesome 5 stars
8/16/04 Patricia Davis Loved it, nearly his most accessible film. The boys are DELISH. A brave film... 5 stars
7/29/04 tatum EEK! PENISES!! Lighten up, MPAA! 4 stars
7/13/04 Elizabeth Disappointing for Bertolucci. Nudity does not equal fleshed-out characters. 2 stars
4/26/04 Eugene du Plooy Excellent - so revolutionary! 5 stars
3/31/04 john loved it 5 stars
3/29/04 Megan Casey Amazing... but not everyone could handle it. 5 stars
2/29/04 nniedzielski how could a movie with that much sex in it be so boring? 2 stars
2/29/04 Brittani artistically and visually stunning 4 stars
2/29/04 jimmy two times strange film. I relate to it even though I was born in the seventies. classic bertolucci. 4 stars
2/28/04 Delphina a fine piece of beautiful cinema 5 stars
2/23/04 david miller unAmerican...beautifully filmed 5 stars
2/22/04 Ash Eva green's body is a piece of art .I really loved the movie 5 stars
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  06-Feb-2004 (NC-17)
  DVD: 13-Jul-2004



Directed by
  Bernardo Bertolucci

Written by
  Gilbert Adair

  Michael Pitt
  Eva Green
  Louis Garrel
  Robin Renucci
  Anna Chancellor

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