The Dreamers Ending Explained & Film Analysis

“Nothing is forbidden”: the idea of ​​the film The Dreamers (2003) with Eva Green: plot summary meaning, explanation of the ending, similar films.

Genre: drama, melodrama

Countries: UK, Italy, France, USA

Year of production: 2003

Directed by: Bernardo Bertolucci

Actors: Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis Garrel

tagline: “Together, anything is possible. Together, nothing is forbidden

Intellectual conversations, explicit scenes, love for cinema and revolution – these components flow into one another, creating a beautiful, somewhat provocative, vicious canvas. The plot of the film The Dreamers is quite simple, but, oddly enough, in the picture Bertolucci in the first place is not he, but interesting details and atmosphere.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the content of the film The Dreamers. 1968 Matthew is a student from the USA. On an exchange program, he came to Paris to study French. The quiet, shy young man soon meets his brother and sister, Theo and Isabelle. Young people who are united by a great love for cinema quickly become friends. Soon Theo and Isabelle inform Matthew that their parents are away and invite him to play. The young man is perplexed, and they openly offer him to move to live with them. He gladly agrees.

Eva Green, Michael Pitt, Louis GarrelEva Green as Isabelle, Michael Pitt as Matthew, Louis Garrel as Theo. Frame from the film.

A little time passes and Matthew notices the mysterious connection between Theo and Isabelle. Indeed, they are in a relationship. Not embarrassed by a friend, Theo and Isabelle walk around the house naked, take a bath together and play love games. In one of these games, brother and sister also involve a naive American, and he, not without pleasure, approaches both of them.

According to the guys, the meaning of their actions is to accept their body and their own sexuality, and Matthew suddenly realizes that he likes the ideas of his new friends. So they become lovers – all three of them. However, they not only play love games, but also talk a lot about art, sometimes arranging rather bold analyzes of classic films. They argue passionately about Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Gets from the pacifist Matthew and the revolutionary views of Theo, who sincerely believes that “a rifle gives rise to power” …

The further, the more Matthew likes Isabelle and in the end he tries to build a relationship only with her. He asks her out on a date and she accepts. In response to this demarche, Theo spends time with another girl, which makes her sister jealous. The quarrel ends in a stormy reconciliation.

Ending explanation

Explanation of the ending of the film “The Dreamers”. Closer to the finale, early in the morning, Theo and Isabelle’s parents return home. Seeing a naked trio sleeping in the same bed, they leave a check for them and leave.

Waking up, Isabelle realizes that her parents know everything. Without a word, she attaches the hose to the gas outlet and lies down with Theo and Matthew to commit suicide with them. However, a few minutes later they are awakened by a brick thrown through the window.

student protestsFrame from the film.

Waking up, the guys discover the crowded streets of Paris – these are huge crowds of students protesting. Theo, Matthew and Isabelle go outside. Delighted and excited, Theo decides to join the protesters who are preparing Molotov cocktails. Matthew tries to stop him, but Theo runs away, taking his sister with him. As the American leaves, Theo takes his sister’s hand and throws a Molotov cocktail at the police. After that, the police attack the crowd.

The meaning of the ending of the film “The Dreamers” is that the main characters become witnesses of the main cultural revolution of the twentieth century. Escapist-minded guys see exactly the same dreamers, who are armed with sticks and bricks. Enthusiastically running out to them, they merge with the insane crowd.

Why did Matthew leave? Probably, the clue should be sought in the words of the brother and sister, uttered by them at the very beginning of the film. They wanted to play. At first, Matthew was sure that he would become the same player, but soon became convinced that they wanted to play with him – like with a toy. Realizing that he is the third wheel, he leaves.

There is another interpretation. Matthew is a pacifist, Theo is a revolutionary. They have a different mentality. For the French, the revolution is something natural, but for the Americans, it is an extraordinary event. Matthew couldn’t be part of his friends, no matter how much he wanted to and no matter how much they wanted him to. At the end of the film, he tried to save at least Isabelle from violence, but she chose Theo …

The meaning of the film The Dreamers

Upon its release, Bertolucci’s film received very mixed reviews. Many were sure that The Dreamers is the director’s nostalgia for the times of his own youth. Others decided that the director simply decided to shoot chamber erotica. But there were those who could see the hidden meaning in this film.

The nostalgic aspect really takes place in The Dreamers – it was thanks to him that the creators of the picture managed to create the entourage of Paris during the May 1968 unrest and, more importantly, the feelings of the youth of those years. The director managed to convey the irrationality of young people, their freedom and at the same time hostility towards conservative principles and a willingness to suffer and fight for their beliefs.

Throughout the film, there is a feeling of unreality and it seems that the events in the Parisian apartment do not really take place, but in a dream. The illusion is interrupted only at the very end, when the wall between the apartment and the outside world is broken by a flying stone. Reality takes over and draws the heroes of the The Dreamers into another protest.

To understand the essence of the film, you need to know the context. The events of The Dreamers unfold against the backdrop of the events of May 1968 – mass protests and a global strike. It all started with the dismissal of Henri Langlois, the founder of local cinematography. Protests of left-wing students began near her building. Cinema then was inseparable from politics, and the engines of the process were very young people. At the same time, in solidarity with the protesters, the Cannes Film Festival was interrupted for the first time.

sexual freedomFrame from the film.

It was cinema and music that were in those years a kind of outlet, the epicenters of protest and freedom. Throughout the tape, Theo, Matthew and Isabelle revel in the paintings of Godard and Bresson – the main representatives of the “new wave”. What is a “new wave”? This is a direction of cinema, trying to move as far as possible from accepted traditions. The emergence of a new view of art could not but resonate with the rebellious moods of those years, which is why the young heroes of The Dreamers deliberately copy scenes from such films.

The point of all this is to show that the cinema for these young people is much more important than reality. That is what ignites the spark in them. That is, the guys simply resort to escapism – avoiding reality, because they do not want to have anything to do with it. However, reality does not just come – it breaks into their lives.

A special role in Bertolucci’s painting is played by love games – more precisely, the sexual revolution. She broke ossified norms, went against morality, and this was precisely what attracted the youth. According to the young people of those years, without this it is impossible to move on, to even greater freedom …

It is a mistake to think that this movie is Bertolucci’s nostalgia for the times of his youth, although this also has a place to be. But to a greater extent, The Dreamers is a film about youth, about the difference in cultures, about actions and about the responsibility that sooner or later will have to bear.

students' actionsFrame from the film.

Similar films

Here are a few films similar in meaning to Bertolucci’s The Dreamers:

  • “Imaginary Love” (Canada, 2010). One day, Francis and Marie meet young Nicolas. For the whole trinity, this turns into very unexpected consequences.
  • “It’s good to be quiet” (USA, 2012). Timid, shy Charlie is the most unpopular high school student in Pittsburgh. However, he grows up and changes …
  • “And your mother too” (Mexico, 2001). Two gouging friends are looking for adventure. Soon the adventure finds them.
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