The film's real failure is that neither the story nor the characters capture the zeitgeist that Bertolucci theoretically set out to celebrate.
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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]
The whole spirit of rebellion, passion and protest that should be a driving force for the characters plays more like a cultivated affectation.
The Dreamers is bad, but unlike the similarly camped-up "Little Buddha" or "Stealing Beauty," it's not exactly boring.
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.
It wasn't as good as the films it cites, but at least it didn't bore me.
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.
He doesnt 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.
The Dreamers may go slack when you most want it to soar, but it also seduces with eroticism and resonates with ideas.
Dispassionate, curiously lifeless, lacking the energy of either youthful commitment or a deeply engaged re-examination of the past.