Though many focused on its racy, NC-17-rated sexual explicitness, Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers is surprisingly lacking in pulse-pounding passion. Admittedly, there’s a modicum of sensuality in the relationship shared by Matthew (Matthew Pitt), a student studying abroad (and perhaps fleeing his overbearing father?) in 1968 Paris, and Isabelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel), twin siblings who take Matthew into their home and include him in their carnal pastimes. But their youthful shenanigans, though striving for Last Tango in Paris intensity, never fully ignite. Matthew and his two adventurous new friends share a common love of the cinema, and Bertolucci links their infatuation with the budding New Wave (and the American genre films that inspired it) to their growing political activism – Isabelle and Theo, the children of a famous poet, worship Mao and support the ongoing ’68 Paris student riots – and their emotional and sexual awakenings. The film’s numerous cinematic allusions can grow a bit wearisome – the central trio are modeled on Jules and Jim’s love triangle, and the director regularly employs match cuts to show us which films he’s referencing – and the erotic games the trio enjoy in their claustrophobic apartment (not to mention the pseudo-incestuous longings shared by the stunning Isabelle and conniving Theo) are thematic devices rather than believable presentations of counterculture rebellion. Yet if Bertolucci can’t generate the heat his film’s hype promises, he does provide the venue for Pitt’s marvelous coming-out performance, a mixture of eager experimentation, wide-eyed excitement, and sensitive maturity that grounds the frequently implausible The Dreamers firmly in reality.