The Dreamers is mainly the story of Matthew (Michael Pitt), an American student who comes to Paris to study in 1968 and becomes friends with a brother and sister who have…an interesting relationship, to say the least. A large part of what binds them together is a shared love of movies, which is echoed throughout the film. As Paris descends into the later parts of 1968 leading up to the famous student riots, the changing relationship of Matthew, Theo and Isabelle is portrayed from the highs to the lows.
One of the things I adored about the movie are the clever winks and nudges the director gives to the audience in the know; soundtrack excerpts from The 400 Blows are interspersed as are classic film clips that movie buffs will know and recognize. Snippets of references are tossed about casually, but the extraordinarily nice thing is that it’s never intended to be a dig at the people who don’t know the references either. It’s a movie made by someone who really loves movies, and has made one that most can enjoy without being insulted.
This one’s seriously heavy on the nudity — I’ve seen more now of Michael Pitt than I honestly ever thought I’d see — but it’s never disgusting or overused. It’s applicable to the context of the movie, which explores a highly odd relationship between three people who seem to live in an strangely symbiotic state amongst the coming chaos of Paris. I do have to confess that the relationship between Theo and Isabelle, the brother and sister, creeped me out more than a little, especially because the director handles it almost lovingly, but I don’t think that makes it a bad film, per se, just different.
The shots and lighting are pitch perfect and the director does a fantastic job of not only showing you, but making you feel the period. By this, I mean that everything he uses makes you feel like you’re living in that time frame, not watching a piece of history. It’s marvelously well executed, with a few bumps here and there, but the script is very good and the direction and acting are extremely well done.
I liked it, but it’ll probably be a few years before I see it again just because it was so heavy. I actually had to sit down and watch it a second time to make sure I caught everything,
Worth the viewing as long as you have an idea of what you’re getting into.