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The Dreamers is a 2003 Erotic Film by Bernardo Bertolucci based on the novel The Holy Innocents by Gilbert Adair.

The film is set against the backdrop of the 1968 student riots in France. Matthew (Michael Pitt), an American exchange student, befriends Isabelle (Eva Green) and Théo (Louis Garrel), an unusually close twin brother and sister, and becomes involved with the sister.


This film provides examples of:

  • The '60s: The movie is basically a collection of everything that was cool about the sixties. It is an idealized vision full of the usual images: free love, weed all around, Janis Joplin records, and debates about Maoism, The Vietnam War, and the greatness of Eric Clapton vs. Jimi Hendrix.
  • Adaptation Title Change: The film is based on the novel The Holy Innocents.
  • Birthmark of Destiny: Theo and Isabelle use this to support their claim that they are identical twins.
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  • Bowdlerization: The film received an R-rated cut that removed 3 minutes of sexual content from the runtime.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Isabelle catches Theo masturbating to old pictures of actress Marlene Dietrich, and then has him do it in front of her and Matthew.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Isabelle catches Theo masturbating to old pictures of actress Marlene Dietrich, and then has him do it in front of her and Matthew.
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Basically the reason for this movie—lots of sex, including (implicitly) between the twins.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: It's a movie by Bernardo Bertolucci about The '60s.
  • Fanservice: Lots of it, especially from Isabelle who is played by Eva Green in her film debut.
  • Femme Fatale: The film evokes this trope with who is comfortable being naked around her brother and watching him masturbate. There's something very erotically dangerous about her - so it's no surprise that when the movie turns out to be happening during the 1968 Paris riots that Isabelle and her brother immediately get involved.
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  • Fetish: In a scene when Isabelle is wearing nothing but a sheet around her waist and black opera gloves against a black background (making it look like she has no arms from just above the elbows), Matthew says "I've always wanted to make love to the Venus de Milo."
  • Foreshadowing: If anyone finds out, she'll kill herself.
  • Gilligan Cut: Isabelle vehemently refusing to let Matthew into her room. Cut to the next scene with Matthew exploring her room.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Lampshaded by Matthew, who points out that since Theo and Isabelle are different genders their claim of being identical twins must be false.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: In the book, it's based on, The Holy Innocents by Gilbert Adair, the sexuality between Matthew and Theo was just as developed as that between Matthew and Isabelle. In the movie, the two boys just indulge in a little Ho Yay, while Matthew and Isabelle actually have lots of sex onscreen.
  • Idealized Sex: Averted. Hence the NC-17 rating for the uncut version.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Both guys. Theo even masturbates for the camera.
  • Ms. Fanservice: That's Eva Green, not wearing a lot of clothing.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer has a quote by Isabelle which is never said in the actual film: "There's something we've always wanted to do but we've been waiting for the right person to do it with..."
  • No Ending: Just as Theo takes Isabelle's hand and hurls a molotov cocktail at police, the film abruptly ends with no closure to the three main leads' fates.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Isabelle gets hers while taking a bath with Theo and Matthew. Theo notes it's "good news", since she'd already had unprotected sex with Matthew multiple times.
  • Only One Name: The main protagonists are solely called "Matthew", "Isabelle" and "Théo". Everyone else is either nameless or Only Known by Their Nickname.
  • Porn with Plot: The entire movie. The plot is about three friends exploring their sexuality and having plenty of sex with each other. All of this is set in the backdrop of the 1968 Paris riots and the characters occasionally discuss it.
  • Shout-Out: To lots of old movies starring the likes of Greta Garbo. The characters often reenact scenes from classic movies (the director then usually cuts to a clip of the original). Example: Matthew, Theo, and Isabelle run through the Louvre in order to break the record set in the movie Bande à part. Also, the twins play a game in which they later involve Matthew: you reenact a movie scene and the other person has to recognize that scene or else fulfill a usually squicky dare.
  • Their First Time: Matthew having sex with Isabelle turns out to be hers, which surprises him greatly as she'd acted far more experienced.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: It frequently happens with the three main leads of the film.
  • Twincest: Heavily implied, though never explicitly confirmed, between Isabelle and Theo. At the very least Isabelle was a virgin until Matthew.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Subverted by the fact that one twin is male and the other is female.
  • Unexpected Virgin: Isabelle turns out to be one before having sex with Matthew, surprising him.

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