Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 40
  2. Negative: 2 out of 40
  1. 100
    The film is extraordinarily beautiful. Bertolucci is one of the great painters of the screen.
  2. An ambitious and exciting piece of work, a movie about sex and movies made by a filmmaker who understands the power of each to set off fantasy, create addiction, incite danger and transform the spirit.
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    The thrills of this movie are aesthetic ones, the creation of new, ravishing imagery (and all three of our young heroes are beautiful enough to be up to this task), the surrender to dream logic, the adoration of the silver screen.
  4. Ablaze with poetry and danger, and suffused with an odd kind of intellectual kitsch.
  5. 88
    The Dreamers argues that life must be lived, not dreamt. But it also remembers the confounding pleasures of dreaming with your eyes wide open.
  6. As tawdry as this may seem, Bertolucci is not trying to one-up himself. He was 27 when the student riots occurred and very much a participant in a revolution that was both complex in its implications and naive in much of the behavior. He has caught that perfectly
  7. The Dreamers is a real humdinger, at once an intimate romance, a glimpse into a rather unconventional friendship and a beautifully focused celebration of cinema itself.
  8. The Dreamers, which is disarmingly sweet and completely enchanting, fuses sexual discovery with political tumult by means of a heady, heedless romanticism that nearly obscures the film's patient, skeptical intelligence.
  9. 75
    The Dreamers may go slack when you most want it to soar, but it also seduces with eroticism and resonates with ideas.
  10. Best when it recreates the cultural and political ferment of the era, capturing the idealism that made youths push against the social boundaries imposed on them by elders.
  11. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The Dreamers isn't that bad -- actually, it's funny, affecting, interestingly twisted, and seriously erotic before it heads south in the final stretch.
  12. Unfortunately, there's no great performance here. Pitt (who looks like Leonardo Di Caprio) delivers nothing close to Brando's tour de force, and all three stars may have been chosen less for their acting ability than their willingness to disrobe for the camera.
  13. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    Ultimately, the film works best when viewed as a tone poem that examines the present through the prism of the past.
  14. 70
    Gorgeously shot, cleverly directed, smartly scripted and convincingly performed, The Dreamers is itself something of a movie puzzle.
  15. 70
    Among the pleasures the film evokes, as few films have, is the bliss of conversation.
  16. 70
    The Dreamers is a universal story, one that captures the thrill of discovering culture, sex, and politics, and the painful twinge of learning that those worlds aren't enough.
  17. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    The tale is a bit too insular and claustrophobic for its own good: in the end these characters lack the depth and complexity to resonate deeply. 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.
  18. By equal measure tragic and hopeful, it is both a love song to escapism and a warm embrace of the real world.
  19. The Dreamers is infused with the same kind of wistful melancholy that made the French New Wave films so winning, and it’s all gorgeous to look at.
  20. 67
    For all the flash and sparkle, there's little heat. The Dreamers wants to be "First Tango in Paris." It's more like "Last Tango Under Glass."
  21. My guess is that The Dreamers will have a certain resonance for those of us who discovered movies and sex at the same time during the '60s. For the rest of you, the film is a curiosity about cinegenic youths baring their bodies while thinking they are baring their souls.
  22. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The problem is the letdown you feel when these glorious morsels (film clips and soundtrack) end, and it's back to three morose schlumps.
  23. 63
    As the threesome's movie games push them into an incestuous menage a trois, the movie loses its grip.
  24. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    It seesaws between disturbing psychosis and freewheeling nouvelle vague romance, then turns awkwardly editorial in the last reel.
  25. He doesn’t entirely succeed, but the attempt has poignancy: As uneven as much of his recent work has been, Bertolucci's still in love with the movies, and his ardor--if not always the ends he puts it to--is exhilarating.
  26. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    It doesn't entirely gel, but few directors could explore the collision of the ego and the outside world with such sympathy or purpose. It's possible that the NC-17 has never been used to such PG-13 ends.
  27. The overall effect of the film is melancholy: it seems desperate for the past.
  28. Watchable if far-fetched movie is seriously marred by its three leads; only Garrel manages to suggest a person rather than a fashion model dutifully following instructions.
  29. Reviewed by: Jean Oppenheimer
    The film's real failure is that neither the story nor the characters capture the zeitgeist that Bertolucci theoretically set out to celebrate.
  30. Lives down to its title -- what an odd and gauzy reverie this is, a strangely muted picture that unfolds at a distinct remove from the reality around it.
  31. Reviewed by: Kevin Carr
    It wasn't as good as the films it cites, but at least it didn't bore me.
  32. In The Dreamers, Bertolucci wants to take us back to a more revolutionary time, but mostly he ends up recalling the faded revolution of his own glory days.
  33. Does have its pleasures, but the feeling is inescapable that the person most pleased is Bertolucci himself. In essence he is the dreamer of the title, as eager to retreat into this hermetic world of his own creation as his characters are into theirs. Fair enough, but why does he have to drag us along with him?
  34. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    The whole spirit of rebellion, passion and protest that should be a driving force for the characters plays more like a cultivated affectation.
  35. More unfortunately still, the elements of the story fit poorly, like a Tucker decked out as a sexmobile.
  36. 40
    The Dreamers is bad, but unlike the similarly camped-up "Little Buddha" or "Stealing Beauty," it's not exactly boring.
  37. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Dispassionate, curiously lifeless, lacking the energy of either youthful commitment or a deeply engaged re-examination of the past.
  38. 40
    Bertolucci is trying hard to shock us with this stuff, but, for all the perversities and the abundant nudity, the movie has an air of inconsequence about it. [9 February 2004, p. 74]
  39. It may give many viewers a licentious flutter, but the highbrow ingredient -- although it desperately wants to be there -- is missing.
  40. A miracle of badness, a kind of art- house "Showgirls" -- which actually exceeds "Showgirls" in its self-indulgence, shallowness and sheer stupidity.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 301 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 20
  2. Negative: 5 out of 20
  1. Mar 27, 2012
    So disgusting and gross. I mean, I couldn't find a single idea this movies stands for. So far from the communist rebellion, all the charactersSo disgusting and gross. I mean, I couldn't find a single idea this movies stands for. So far from the communist rebellion, all the characters could care about is their sexual discovery. What sens does all of this make ? Two hours of nonsense and disturbing sexual scenes. Full Review »
  2. Sep 27, 2013
    This movie is just beautiful, and it shines bright with all the colors and attractive Paris backdrop. Not much goes on, in terms of storyThis movie is just beautiful, and it shines bright with all the colors and attractive Paris backdrop. Not much goes on, in terms of story other than sex and lots of nudity, but viewers can forget about that, since the movie is mesmerizingly shot an masterfully directed. Full Review »
  3. Jun 14, 2013
    THE DREAMERS (3 outta 5 stars) Interesting project by the renowned director Bernardo Bertolucci... dealing with the events of 1968 inTHE DREAMERS (3 outta 5 stars) Interesting project by the renowned director Bernardo Bertolucci... dealing with the events of 1968 in France... a time of great social upheaval, as rioting students took to the streets to shut down the French government. The main characters are a young American student who has come to France to study film... and a very unconventional brother and sister who recruit him to their offbeat lifestyle. All three are obsessed by film (as many young people were in 1968... the glory days of the avantgarde)... and also with the concept of breaking rules and societal taboos. With their parents away for the month and the flat to themselves, bets are made on film trivia and the penalties for not identifying a particular moment from a particular film become more and more shocking. Only leaving their home to watch films, the trio are basically oblivious to the growing trouble in the streets... until finally they can sit passively no more. Very intriguing concept and the acting is fine... but ultimately I thought the conclusion fell a little flat... the transition from sexual hedonism to political activism didn't really work for me... it all seemed a little abrupt and could have been explored a little deeper. Worth watching and discussing though. Full Review »