The Dreamers movie poster
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The Dreamers movie poster

The Dreamers Movie Review

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The director of The Last Emperor journeys into the world of young sex and film in The Dreamers, an interesting though not overly engaging drama that gets its only major boost from its NC-17 rating.

The Dreamers follows Matthew (Michael Pitt, best known for Murder by Numbers), an American who has traveled to France in 1968 to enjoy film and experience life. Set against the backdrop of the student riots of that year, he gets a major dose when he meets a brother and sister that share his love for film, but have a very strange and intimate relationship with one another. As Michael gets pulled into their world, he begins to lose touch with reality.

Few people would know of The Dreamers and even less would care had this film not received an NC-17 rating, the rare slap-of-death that basically forbids most people under the age of 17 from seeing the film. NC-17 is usually reserved for sexually explicit films, although I don't know what's more damaging to youth - a penis here or there or the violence that is now commonly seen in PG-13 films. Regardless, The Dreamers does have a fair amount of sex and nudity, though really not much more than sexually explicit R-rated films. The difference is that this movie shows a penis now and again, because showing frontal nudity on men is so much worse than showing frontal nudity on women, right (note my sarcasm)? Okay, so I don't really want to see penises, but does this movie really deserve an NC-17 rating? On the other hand, does showing penises really add to the film?

Despite your views on sex on the big screen, The Dreamers is a drama that never really connects with its audience. Though the love/sex triangle is slightly erotic, the movie fails to establish its three lead characters. Having watched the movie only yesterday, I cannot pinpoint a single interesting fact about any of the three leads, other than that they are all obsessed with film. Matthew has very little substance, and it is even difficult to figure just how innocent he is at the beginning. Isabelle (Eva Green) looks good in the nude, but is she nothing more than a spoiled child? And Theo (Louis Garrel), her brother, is just as shallow; nothing helps explain their actions.

The title of the film is very accurate in describing the film - the three characters spend two hours in a dream, separated from the outside world. However, just like a dream, once it is done the memory fades and all we are left with is a lingering thought that isn't nearly as satisfying as real life.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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