Reviews of The Dreamers
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Paris, spring 1968. While most students take the lead in the May ‘revolution’, a French poet’s twin son Theo and daughter Isabelle enjoy the good life in his grand Paris home. As film buffs they meet and ‘adopt’ modest, conservatively educated Californian student Matthew. With their parents away for a month, they drag him into an orgy of indulgence of all senses, losing all of his and the last of their innocence. A sexual threesome shakes their rapport, yet only the outside reality will break it up.
While the film is supposed to dramatize a period in French history and a cinematic revolution in France. That is only the backdrop for a more intimate story at the forefront.
This film is like a Playboy magazine. There is a lot of intellectualism, but you use it and come and endure it only to get to the nudity and sex. Which is on display quite a lot in this film.
Director Bernardo Bertolucci was so impressed how the actors so naturally acted naked, he penned an uncredited lengthy extra scene in the script where all three main actors are overtly nude. It ended up on the cutting room floor.
The film is almost a wet dream for teenagers because it envisions all of what they think a art movie is all about. Hot nude French girls who have sec a lot. It also is the wet dram fantasy of any young European male traveler. You go to a movie get picked up by a hot French girl who smokes talks passionately about movies and wants to have sex all of the time. Then when you take her out on a date all she really wants to do is go back home and have sex with you.
The film Chronicles the student riots of ‘68 but the main draw here is the explicit sex scenes. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the sexual nature of the film, but it seems to be what takes over so that while certain points are made and drama comes out. The audience has been so conditioned by what they have seen so far. That it is way too late to make statements and implore messages and themes as it comes off s filler to keep the action going.
I enjoyed not only the carnal passion but the passion the characters had for cinema. The director is no stranger to eroticism. The film works more as eroticism though I wonder if Bernardo Bertolucci felt like he was actually delivering a message in the film. As sexuality is more the norm in Europe. Trying to get the audience to come for the sex while delivering its message subtly. The film feels like it is trying to say something, but doesn’t know exactly what to say. Almost as if he felt by letting the story play. A theme would take place or let the audience find their own.
I have to be truthful the main reason I went to see this film is for the acting debut of the screen godess Eva Green. Which the film can only help but cement. The film even in it’s sly way hints at this by having her pose nude like Venus DeMilo in a scene. She makes a dynamite film debut and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her whenever she is on the screen for all the right reasons. She displays innocence, but seems to let out her inner seductress who is always in control of the man she is with. Almost like a deadly spider who lures you into her web and then devours you.
The film is shot beautifully but with all the attention to details the film feels more shot like an epic then rather it’s intimate story. Like the director devised a grander tale, but could only get funding for a smaller one. It might just be the way he shoots films and tells stories as Mr. Bertolucci’s grandest successes have been small intimate stories in the middle of grand backgrounds and historical events. Imagine his version of LINCOLN had he made it. I’m sure it would have been more controversial and sexy.
This film is a nice introduction to his oeuvre, but feels like a warmed over version of his past films.
Jake Gyllenhaal was initially considered for the role of Matthew but turned it down because of the explicit nature of the nude scenes.
Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the role of Matthew, but turned it down because he was in pre-production with The Aviator
Dominic Cooper was considered for the role of Matthew.
I am happy the incestuous relationship between her and her brother is more suggested then shown. I am also happy actor Michael Pitt played his character as normal and straight laced instead of some of the freaky acting tics he has used in past roles.
There were scenes in the script depicting much more blatant sexual relations between the characters of Matthew and Theo, but they were not filmed. Director Bertolucci said, “The gay sex was in the first script, but I had a feeling that it was just too much stuff. It became redundant.” Actor Pitt said in interview, “It was in the script and it’s what I’d signed to do. But they said we weren’t going to do that.”
The film isn’t bad but I do think the film is overrated in many critics circles. It is more because of the reputation and past glories of director Bernardo Bertolucci the many masterpieces he has made in the past have made critics fall in love with cinema so here i feel they might have given him a past and seen glimpses of past glories in some of his shots. That is at least a theory or maybe since this is his first film in quite awhile they over praise it. As it was better than his last few efforts such as LITTLE BUDHA and STEALING BEAUTY. He is never one to shy away from sex in all it’s beauty and little ugliness. It shockingly lacks the atmosphere, openness, grand sights and landscapes that his films are usually filled with. We know he is trying to convey the schizophrenic nature and claustrophobia of the characters to hide themselves from the world and function as intimate family. Though once they go out it would be nice to see how the outside world is like a wilderness to them.
Bertolucci proves to be a true auteur and one of the last true epic filmmakers. When you think of the films he has made you can only think he has always made films with passion and close to his heart. Never just for money or popularity. He always makes films that seem to push boundaries. You can’t see him directing a run of the mill studio film like KISS THE GIRLS or PRIMAL FEAR, though I would love to see his versions. He is a grand director who feels like he could have made this better. It almost feels like something is off.
First film since Orgazmo that was released theatrically in the US with a NC-17 rating. Even with its NC-17 rating, major theater circuits like Regal and AMC agreed to show this film.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.
Um olhar voyeurístico à classe burguesa do cinema.
Que maneira estranha – mas não menos inteligente – de o mostrar. Ainda que em jeito de homenagem, é a revelação de uma família de classe alta (quiçá média-alta no século XXI; não esquecer que o filme situa-se no pré-revolução de 1968), culta, burguesa, rica, no seio da mais importante revolução do mundo ocidental no século XX, como que dois pólos distintos, duas faces da mesma moeda, a realidade que não quer ser nada mais que ela mesma e a ilusão dessa mesma realidade, fechado num pequeno mundo, num pequeno círculo, que se protege e idealiza a si mesmo. A revelação de que o mundo é bem mais complexo que inúmeros livros que tenhamos lido, inúmeras formas de pensar que possuamos ou estilos de vida que levemos — a divisão da sociedade por classes é, consequentemente, uma ambiguidade, uma tentativa absurda de controlar as massas, uma metodologia de pensamento que é própria das classes mais altas (mas não exclusiva) como imposição de práticas que se julgam em prol de uma sociedade mais justa e, de certa forma, igual, repartindo de forma qualitativa e não quantitativa – um pensamento neo-feudal, onde os ricos controlam as terras e os pobres lavram-na. Pelo meio, o burguês sonha em viver como um pobre… sem nunca deixar de viver no seu casulo, no seu castelo, mantendo as suas posses, – ainda que em menor escala que a nobreza – conformando-se a um estilo de vida que é próprio da nobreza, mas altamente crítico do mesmo, fazendo, escrevendo, realizando, pintando, esculpindo, tocando… eu sei lá, produzindo arte de todas as maneiras inimagináveis com um único objectivo, o de que todos possam viver uma quota-parte daquilo que é seu, aquilo com que constantemente vivem, sem renunciarem eles mesmos a esse pequeno mundo ideológico – talvez utópico e algo poético – de que eles sim, possuem a razão do lado deles. De que sim, eles são a Luz, a verdadeira Cultura. Mas será mesmo?
Somos obrigados – ainda que seja um entrave às nossas próprias ideologias de pensamento – a dizer que não. O plano final é o exemplo primordial desta conclusão, como a conclusão de uma ideia mentalmente fascista, a de que somos dotados de razão em relação ao próximo, além de que, também, seja a conclusão do filme e o início de uma longa luta… não uma luta de classes onde a inferior derruba a superior – na visão maoísta do termo – mas a de uma sociedade sem classes, onde cada um é igual ao seu próximo. Essa é a verdadeira luz, aquilo que a cultura e o cinema – como arte de função social, evocando liberdade, igualdade e fraternidade, os ideais da Revolução – são na sua real definição, como uma espécie de paradigma, de situação temporal dos termos em si no século, na década, no ano em que vivemos.
Podem dizer que somos sonhadores… mas não somos os únicos.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Maybe I just can’t help like a film about film lovers that references a ton of other great films but after just finishing The Dreamers I have to say I loved it. So lets put aside the film lover aspect because all of us here are bias. The relationship between Isabelle and Theo and Matthew and each of their individual relationships are just astonishing to watch. Isabelle and Theo are so enticing to Matthew but he struggles with them due to their strange, childish, and in my values just plain wrong relationship. What works so perfectly is we as the audience feel the same way. Isabelle is beautiful and says the day she was born was when she saw Breathless, I’m sorry call me shallow but as a film lover I’m ready to marry her. And I don’t share the sexual attraction that Matthew had for Theo but still a friend who could argue with me over Chaplin vs Keaton and Hendrix vs Clapton is pretty cool. I want to love these characters but it is just so hard due to their inappropriate behavior towards one another, which is similar to what Matthew goes through. I really enjoyed watching these characters interact and struggle with their feelings.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
(Originally written May 28, 2007)
“I entered this world on the Champs Elysees in 1959, and my very first words were, ‘New York Herald Tribune!’”
I was about to go to bed when I saw this film on the Independent Film Channel. I decided to watch the first few minutes to get a sense of what this film is like, but once I had started, I couldn’t stop watching.
This is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen, a film so in love with the great cinema of the past. It’s a love letter to the 1960s, a letter that expresses mixed sentiments—the joy of the ideals and the reality of how these ideals stand up against reality. The film is about an American student who spends his time at the Cinematheque and eventually meets French twins who are passionate about politics, music, sex, and, most of all, movies. Never have I seen a film capture what it means to love cinema as well this film with the three characters in the film quizzing each other about movie references and living out the movies they love. The movie even makes use of actual footage from the referenced movies which include City Lights, Queen Christina, Freaks, and Breathless. Perhaps the most memorable scene is when the three characters run through the Louvre, attempting to break the record the characters set in Jean-Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders. After they break the record, Bob Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately” came in, and that’s when I lost it. It was a representation of everything I had ever loved about film. Foreign cinema can sometimes become distant for an American, but this film gives a different perspective because the characters have such a beautiful personal connection to the films they watch and love. The movie eventually goes on to question the idealism of the twins and evaluate these characters in the context of 1960s France, the protests and the calls for revolution. By the end of the film, the values of sexual freedom and political radicalism of the characters are put into question, as if these were part of a dream that eventually ended. More than anything, this movie is simply a joy to watch, exuding the energy that characterized the films of the French New Wave. A great movie allows me to not only enjoy myself, but it also allows me to be excited about movies as an art again, and that is exactly what this film did.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.