Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
202 Reviews
Sort by:
Atmospheric but dreadfully slow vampire update with virtually no plot
Turfseer11 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not a big fan of most vampire flicks since the subject has not only been done to death (no pun intended) but also because the idea of a human vampire is strictly a fictional construct and hence not a character that one can take very seriously at all. Director Jim Jarmusch has decided to debunk the genre by updating and treating it somewhat as a black comedy. His protagonist is "Adam," a depressed vampire hipster, who enjoys listening to his own dirge-like rock compositions and is proud of his collection of vintage guitars, supplied by his human gofer, Ian, who is part of the local rock scene. Adam asks Ian to obtain a wooden bullet, which he may or may not use to eventually kill himself.

Soon enough, his wife Eve (they've been married for centuries), has just left 400 year old playwright Christopher Marlowe (also a vampire) in Tangier and comes to Detroit hoping that she can cheer Adam up. Over half the film features little conflict between Adam and Eve and aside from engaging in some rather dull conversation, they occasionally leave Adam's home and drive around in a mostly deserted and abandoned Detroit.

Finally something happens past the midpoint; Eve's sister, Ava, pays a visit to the couple from Los Angeles. She ends up killing Ian by biting his neck and drinking his blood. Adam and Eve are appalled by her behavior (since modern vampires don't do that sort of thing) and kick her out of the house. They then dispose of Ian's body and head to Tangier after a bunch of Adam's fans appear outside the house.

When they discover that Marlowe is dying from contaminated blood, they realize they have no choice but to whip their fangs out and kill an unsuspecting couple they meet on the streets. That's basically it— virtually no plot, with a narrative that proceeds at a snail's pace. Score some points for atmosphere, but Jarmusch's tale is as bankrupt as Adam's blood supply. In short, proceed at your own peril!
10 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Two immortal lovers reunite after years of separation.
sinann-41 January 2014
Yes, Only Lovers Left Alive is another vampire movie. Yes, the characters are very pale and old and romantic. Yes, it is very much full of clichés and stereotypes. However, it is also wickedly smart, beautifully shot, filled to the brim with talent and full of cultural witticisms.

Tom Hiddleston is Adam, Tilda Swinton is Eve and Jim Jarmusch is a genius. This is a director that tells us all we need to know without doubting our intelligence. He allows us to fall into the depths of the film without worrying about a perfectly neat beginning, middle and end. He even stops his characters from following tedious and predictable patterns, because after all, they're too old for that.

This is a movie for film lovers and pop culture enthusiasts. It is a vampire film that takes advantage of its time span; cultural references dating back hundreds of years can be found at every corner. Only Lovers Left Alive does not focus on blood and gore, it is not a thriller nor a horror, it doesn't even truly focus on the world of vampires. Instead, Jarmusch studies the eternal, he explores the quiet, perhaps boring, every day life of a modern, intelligent and ancient being who has, quite literally, seen it all.

  • Sinann Fetherston.

You can find a full review at MoviefiedNYC.
217 out of 288 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
hollow shells
JW-3017 January 2014
Wonderful imagery. style and atmosphere in the extreme. great acting. Beauty in many forms: you get a lot for your eyes. Also, depending on your taste in music, there is also a lot for your ears.

For your brain, sadly, not as much.

"Only lovers left alive" is filled with a lot of name-dropping, by word, picture and sometimes sound. Whether you find that fascinating or pretentious depends on your taste.

But what this movie really lacks is a story. The characters are throughout and the dialogue may be scarce, but has some dry humour and snappy lines. That doesn't save it from going nowhere. Glaring plot holes may make you cringe at times. And the pacing looks like Jarmush tried to surpass Kaurismäki in terms of slowness. If so, he won.

So perhaps this movie is best tasted in the state its protagonists enter after relishing an excellent glass of blood: dazed, blissful, and somewhat drugged.
215 out of 313 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Rock n Roll Vampires
corrosion-216 November 2013
One knows that a Jim Jarmusch movie about vampires is not going to be like any other vampire film. In fact it would be unkind to class this as a vampire movie. Only Lovers Left Alive is a highly stylized and atmospheric film bemoaning the passing of the great rock n roll and Hippy era. Here we have a vampire couple (Swinton & Hiddleston - both excellent and perfectly cast) living an isolated life in an abandoned house in Detroit, USA. Hiddleston used to be a famous rock n roll artist who has become a recluse collecting old guitars and records. They survive by purchasing blood samples from a corrupt doctor. We also have one of their old vampire friends (John Hurt) living in Tangiers where the blood is specially pure. Things take an unexpected turn when Swinton's mischievous sister (Mia Wasikowska) visits them. Only Lovers Left Alive has cult film written all over it. The music is great too and blends perfectly with the atmosphere. Essential for Jarmusch fans and recommended to others too!
141 out of 215 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A stunning love story between two undying souls
dance-party-kgb16 November 2013
This is Jim at his utter best. The balance between emotive writing and gentle quiet spaces within the script are total perfection. The characters are well rounded and very easy to empathize with, which is surprising for a couple of centuries old vampires. There is none of the usual gaudy over the top vampiric crap that usually fills these types of movies. It's a love story at heart and one that does a fantastic job of balancing itself so that the intimacy shown on screen is divine taste of these interesting characters lives without falling over the top into some strangely perverse romcom. There is humor and and satire in abundance, though it is never cheapened or thrown into the mix to fill a gap. No this film in entirety is sweet and humbling. The sets are rich and perfectly put together, the performances are flawless from each and every member of the cast no matter how long their involvement. This movie is the type that causes you to want to crawl into it's story and settle down to live within it.
149 out of 233 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Artistic, Romantic Escapism
Cs_The_Moment14 March 2014
Only Lovers Left Alive is one of the most breath-taking films I have ever seen. As a fan of the more artistically styled film I was captivated throughout. The entire film is quiet and dark with an eerie feeling of timelessness that matches the souls as old as time itself, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton). The film centres around their eternal love, highlighting the modern world through the light, easy-going spirit of Eve and the tortured romantic Adam. Despite being set in the modern day it is completely unlike vampire films of recent times, presenting a visually beautiful story of true romance.

Artistic is the epicentre of this film. It is entirely set at night so it has a sleepy, soft half-light, in the empty, mysterious streets of Detroit and Tangier. The script has a minimal feel, giving the impression that every word is important, and there are some great moments of dark comedy scattered throughout, mixed with cultural and literary references and philosophical observations. Everything about it is slow and measured and perfected, even down to the synchronised movements of Adam and Eve. The acting is stunning, with a particularly beautiful performance from Tom Hiddleston, who carries the role of the suicidal vampire who has grown tired of the disrepairs of the world with a darkly sexy air. Tilda Swinton provided a light to Hiddleston's dark, offering a rescue at the darkest of moments. There was yet more contrast with Eve's wild and unpredictable younger sister (Mia Wasikowska) and the wise, worldly Marlowe (John Hurt). The clash of characters adds to the charm of the story and the style.

The film is slow-paced but contrary to other opinions I didn't feel that it dragged on in any way. It presents a lot of truths about current society which really made me think. Naturally, it remains true to some vampire film stereotypes: dark, sexy and romantic. If you're a Tom Hiddleston fan in particular I recommend this, his portrayal of such a flawed character is simply stunning. However even if you're impartial, I would highly recommend this film, everything about it is breath-taking and gorgeous. It achieves artistic without clouding the message of the film and draws you in to its perfect eternity and escapism.
78 out of 119 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Hip, smart and funny
Martin Bradley16 February 2014
Jim Jarmusch's delicious new comedy is a vampire movie unlike any other. It's set in the present but forget those "Twilight" sagas; these are vampires for the art-house crowd, smart, funny and yes, sexy creatures of the night, (the whole film takes place at night; there isn't a single shot in daylight), and I was crazy about them. Indeed Jarmusch has fashioned a masterpiece about a couple of lonely people whose only solace is each other, doomed if you like to be together for all eternity or until one of them gets a stake or a wooden bullet in the heart or drinks some 'bad blood'; (I loved the subtle AIDS metaphor; be careful who you bite). Adam, (tall, dark and sexy Tom Hiddleston), and Eve, (a mesmerizing Tilda Swinton), have been married to each other, several times it would appear, over the centuries but living separate lives, he in Detroit as a reclusive musician, she in Tangier where she has another old vampire for a friend. He is Christopher Marlowe, (yes that Christopher Marlowe), and he's played by John Hurt with a twinkle in his eye. It's when Eve visits Adam in Detroit, flying by night, (in a plane; what did you expect - bat-wings?), that all hell breaks loose in the shapely form of Eve's sexy sister, (a terrific Mia Wasikowska), who can't keep her fangs to herself. As you would expect from Jarmusch this is funny, intelligent and off-the-wall. Hiddleston proves to be a highly dapper comedian while Swinton is superb as Eve, getting all she can out of a life she knows is going to go on forever. Unmissable.
76 out of 122 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Probably the worst film I've ever seen
maw2366 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I specifically registered with IMDb to write this review, as I don't want anyone else to have to sit through this film. I have absolutely no idea why it's being reviewed so favourably. It is truly, truly awful and I spent the majority it watching through my hands, because I just couldn't stand the overbearing mediocrity of the whole thing. There is absolutely nothing original about it, and as others have said, the dialogue is teeth-clenchingly risible.

I was nervous from the very first conversation, when the Hiddleston's character loftily name- drops a historical figure he knew (because he's like, you know, really old? Get it?). His pal says 'what happened to him?' Hiddleston replies 'Ahh, he was casually shot by a parliamentarian', to which the response is 'Whoah man, that sucks.'. Alarm bells were a-ringing.

If you were to ask the least-gifted film-maker on earth what he would do to try and liven up the dialogue of a two world-weary, wise old vampires, he would probably confidently reply 'They could talk about all the awesome people they've known throughout history! It would be amazing!'. And so we have it that time and again, a passage of dialogue exists only to demonstrate that one of them knew a celebrity from the last 400 years.

For example, the Adam and Eve (sigh) are playing chess when Eve pipes up 'Did you play chess with Byron?' Adam says 'Ah, why do you always do this?', Eve says 'Oh come on, you know I love to hear about these kind of things' Adam replies 'He was a pompous ass.'. Eve guffaws. It's not over yet though. There's more blood to be beaten out of this stone. She continues with 'And what about Mary? Mary Wollstonecraft?' Adam replies with 'She was delicious.' REALLY? Are we actually doing this? Is this what I paid to see? It was like a scene from mid-90s TV movie Bernard and The Genie starring Lenny Henry and Alan Cumming, only that had the good sense not to take itself seriously.

Then there is the relentless, exposition about every little thing, as if Jarmusch was so insanely chuffed with each derivative idea he came across that he wanted to make doubly sure you got it. So something's chucked out there (invariably a gag about having been alive for centuries), you roll your eyes, then it's explained why it was said.

As a final hurrah from the Bernard and the Genie gag (and this is the spoiler), as their friend Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) lies on his death bed, they look at his writing desk. Above it is a picture of Shakespeare. There is then (yet another) exposition conversation which reveals that Marlowe wrote all of Shakespeare's works. Of course he did. He says something along the lines of 'Talentless old hack. But we needed him to take all the credit because I was supposed to be dead.'. If that was the case, why would you have a picture of him above your desk? Is it just so that it could spark off that pointless little conversation for the benefit of the audience?

At one point Eve is on the phone to the airline, booking her ticket to Detroit. It was like a conversation from 60s batman 'What's that commissioner, there's a bomb under the central bank? And we've only got 7 minutes before it goes off?' Eve's conversation went as follows: 'So I'm flying tomorrow night to Paris? Then I'm flying from Paris to Detroit?' The point of this purely being so that a) you get the point (which is repeated later in the film for the return flight) that they can only fly at night (because they're vampires, yeah?) and b) when you see her on a french airline in the next scene, you don't think 'why's she on a French airline?'.

Another example: She finds a wooden bullet that Adam has had made. We know he had it made because there was a whole scene dedicated to him putting in the request for it. She looks closely at the bullet. In reality the emotional impact to her would come from the fact that he has a gun in his flat with a wooden bullet in it. But she is then made to say (bearing in mind she's on her own, and people don't come out with explanatory statements when they're on their own in real life) 'This has been recently made!'. We know it has! And we assume that you know it has because in the previous scene it was demonstrated that you can date things just by touching them! But just to eliminate any doubt, she talks you through it.

The whole film feels like it was edited by Jarmusch's mum, who watched it and, after wiping away a proud tear, said 'I'm not going to change a thing my darling, it's wonderful just as it is.'. Although this does suggest that good editing would have saved this. it wouldn't. It's unwatchable down to its bones.
136 out of 243 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Superfluous, meaningless, self-indulgent, teenage twaddle
Rodrigo Angulo26 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Right, where to begin? I was recently driven away from watching the final 40 minutes of this film at The Showroom in Sheffield by a complete lack of any story/plot and some of worst dialogue I have heard in a very long time. As another (unfavourable) reviewer commented previously, the dialogue is that of a 1st year Arts student trying to sound cool and interesting in front of their teacher who they are obsessed with- when in reality it sounds like a car-crash in the form of words. Just to provide some context, this is only the 2nd film I have ever left the cinema before the end for- the 1st being Gus Van Sant's 'Paranoid Park', another totally uninspiring, pointless film. And I don't want to give the wrong impression, I actually LIKE slow films when done well *See 'Once Upon A Time In Anatolia' by Nuri Bilge Ceylan or 'Stalker' by Andre Torkovsky- masters of that particular art form, they make this film look like it has been made by Usain Bolt in comparison. But where Ceylan and Tarkovsky succeed in intriguing the viewer with meaning and engaging characters, this is pretentious drivel of the highest order.

There are not enough words in my vocabulary to express my absolute fury & disgust at what I was made to endure, and when I said "made", that is purely my own insistence on seeing things to the end, in case the film comes up trumps. In this case, I doubt that anything so fantastical could have happened in those last 40 minutes to make me change my mind about this film.

The only positives you can take from this are that the music is good and the scenes of Detroit and Tangier are pleasing on the eye. The acting is OK but they are made to spout the most pointless claptrap that you start to question just how good these actors are, which is definitely not fair on them. After deliberating on whether to leave the cinema before we did for a whole 20 minutes, the final straw for me came when Eve said Adam, "have you got a bit of old carpet?". I would rather have spent my afternoon disposing of my old carpet down the skip.
66 out of 114 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
a shallow statement on passing time
Bence Bárdos16 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Director Jim Jarmush has never made conventional genre films – after the unbreakable samurai code of 'Ghost Dog' or the spiritual western journey of 'Dead Man' it is no surprise that his 2013 vampire film is not really about vampires, but a certain melancholic nostalgia towards past times. However, 'Only Lovers Left Alive' is a shallow statement on passing time, and doesn't have anything new to say about modern society, nor vampires themselves. Adam and Eve (Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton) have been in love and married for centuries and haven't killed for blood for a long time, now surviving on blood-bank supplies, leading a long distance relationship – while she's in Tangier, keeping contact with fellow vampire and Elizabethan era poet Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) (who, according to the film, wrote most of Shakespeare's plays), he lives in on the outskirts of Detroit. Adam, having influenced numerous musicians and scientists throughout history has become burnt out and depressed – hiding and making music in an apartment filled with memories of the past, he even considers committing suicide, resulting in Eve visiting him. He is disappointed in the human race, or the 'zombies', as the he calls them – all they do is attack their own scientists, destroy once beautiful buildings, fight over oil. 'Only Lovers Left Alive' is more of an insight into a few days of its characters than a film with an actual plot. While the vampires live in present day, they deny modern life and apart from using iPhones and Youtube they manage to be isolated from society. They hardly encounter other vampires – the only one with different values is Eve's younger sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) who still lives the irresponsible, murderous lifestyle of older times. During a visit Ava kills Adam's 'zombie' helper and friend Ian, forcing the couple to fly (by plane, as most mythical vampire qualities are excluded) to Tangier, where they witness Marlowe, the old vampire's death due to blood poisoning. The film ends when, weakened by blood-withdrawal, they are forced to kill a human couple. Jarmush bases his story on the idea that our present is corrupted, longing more for the 1960s than for the centuries before, making the film seem more of a hippie swan song than the summary of the timeless pain of the immortal. The old character's death is predictable even in this transcendent level of existence, Ava's rebellion is not important enough to support the concept. While more recent vampire love stories like 'Let the Right One In' or 'Thirst' add to the romantic, tragic quality of being immortal, 'Only Lovers Left Alive' focuses on its main point, name-dropping historical and cultural references and occasionally explaining the plot by characters talking to themselves. While the two main actors offer great performances and some of the scenes (such as the hospital sequences) are a great mixture of Gothic and modern elements, it is safe to say that Jarmush was not able to fill the screenplay's plot holes and hardly touches on points regarding its concept that would require a lot more screen time.
18 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Highly Literate Vampire Love Story
l_rawjalaurence12 March 2014
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE pulls no punches with its audience; it expects us to take note of the literary references peppering the script, to figures old and new, making us away of the transhistoricity of the love-affair between Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton). In a world becoming increasingly disheveled and uninhabitable - the shots of a desolate Detroit are especially affecting - their love remains the only constant. However director Jim Jarmusch suggests that they need an outside transfusion of perfect blood to keep their affair going, something that can only be provided through a few sources, notably through Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt), who lives in a dark, dingy café in Tangier (another place deliberately chosen by director Jarmusch as the symbol of a place where trade and/or exchange has historically always occurred). When the blood runs out, so Adam and Eve have to resort to more direct methods of sustaining themselves. The ambiances evoked through this film are memorable; the zombie culture populated by Adam and Ava (Mia Wasikowska), the labyrinthine streets of Tangier, where sellers on every corner offer "something special" - which is not special enough for Adam and Eve. Within this ambiance the love-story is strangely haunting: we care for the two protagonists and their future, even though we are aware that their affair has continues for centuries. The film doesn't necessarily offer an optimistic conclusion, but at least it suggests that Adam and Eve will continue stay alive, at whatever cost.
43 out of 73 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
How can you stay alive after watching this?
adi_200230 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Two vampire lovers reunite after a long time to carry on their love story. Adam is now a musician and Eve has reach to be a strong woman. The romance is disturbed by Ava and one evening when she was bored comes with the idea to go out all together including Ian a young boy who frequently helps Adam with supplies. After they get back home Ava can't help herself and kills Ian and the couple must now take care of the body and cover any tracks. The visit from Ava will destroy the relation or they are to experienced to know that the actions of a selfish girl can't change their feelings for each other?

7.6 ??? Seriously? For what? The first 45 minutes of the movie are painful to watch because there is nothing happening, then after one hour or so the story begins to reveal. Also it's too long, boring and slow. Nothing really happens for the whole film. It had every bad things in it to convince me not to like it or not to vote the movie with a greater grade.
22 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A stagnant mind bent on stealing ideas...
Jon Gardner25 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The reviews had suggested that this latest offering from Jim Jarmusch was worth seeing

  • a retro-chic hippy vampire flick which gets its energy from the sulphurous chemistry between Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston

(Peter Bradshaw- The Guardian, 20th February, 2014)

-Just when it's time to call a moratorium on vampire movies, Jim Jarmusch has to go and make a good one.As unlikely as it sounds in the era of "Twilight" and its imitators, Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive" proves there are still new sights and sounds and meanings to be derived from the conceit of characters who rarely sleep, never die and feast on the blood of others

(Ann Hornaday – Washington Post, 17th April, 2014)

You can see how I got the impression that this was a decent film.

The film begins with a record spinning on a record player. That is, a piece of fashionably retro vinyl revolving on a retro turntable and then hey, why not guess what camera shot Jim Jarmusch uses to introduce the two protagonists from this point?

Go on.

Remember, the first shot is of a record going around and around what crazy thing might you do??

You got it! Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are segued into the shot r o t a t i n g. I know, A-mazing, never saw that coming:

I think it's reminiscent of a Kula Shaker video from the 90′s. Or something by The Beatles, The Stones, The Charlatans, or any vaguely rock/psychedelia band from the last half a century. Except done badly. And interminably.

Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is dressed like Jim Morrison (before he got tubby). He's topless, wearing rock-y, possibly leather trousers, lying on a giant chaise longue with a lute on his chest. A lute. There's lots of old amps and bits of chintz about the place.

Tick- visual shorthand done.

Eve (Tilda Swinton) is wearing a caftan/dressing gown and is passed out at the foot of a bed with a psychedelic throw on it. Got it? She's a bit of a hippy.

Tick- again.

So, characters established. That's all we need to know. And actually, come to think of it, in terms of narrative, characterization, character development, crisis, resolution. Plot. Any of that stuff, you might as well stop here because this film doesn't trouble itself with any of it. It is entirely superficial. Any meaning you might hope to extract from the film can only be derived from the look of the piece, which is a haphazard construction of clichés. Some of the reviewers are well aware of this, and have seen to find it laudable. Stylish. Clearly, I'm not a fan. But I have gone through the painful process of watching some of the film again so as to make a more reasoned case.

First of all, characterization. Take, for example, the character of Adam. Essentially, Adam is presented to us as a tortured musician. He expresses his immortal existentialism through his art. We see him appraise a rare electric guitar in an early scene by looking horizontally up the fretboard. Tom Hiddleston then further reveals his hilarious lack of axeman-ship when he takes about thirty seconds in which to construct a chord (D minor) and strum. Later, he mooches about his bijou studio demonstrating a further range of skills he fails to convince us of by:

  • robotically tapping cymbals - experimenting with sound by hitting guitar strings with a drumstick.

This farcical scene was one of my favourites and brought back fond memories of The Fast Show's Jazz Club.

Tilda Swinton's character, Eve, is largely conveyed through her face. Her already enigmatic and expressive features have been over-intensified through matt-white make-up and massive black contact lenses, so that she seems like inanimate clay.

Then the script.

When John Hurt scuffles into a Moroccan cafe to meet Eve, she says,

"So, how is the fabulous Christopher Marlowe tonight?"

Clunk. Character name explained.

Jim Jarmusch wrote the screenplay. I'd like to say it's sh**, because it is. But mostly, it's just incredibly mundane. Good actors (Tilda Swinton and John Hurt are good actors) are made to look clumsy and laboured because the words they have to deliver are hackneyed and were construed in a stagnant mind bent on stealing ideas.

I'm not going to go into more detail because, frankly, it's not worth it. I'm writing this because I felt that I should redress the imbalance of criticism. Having started it, and having forced myself to re-watch sections of the film, I have to admit defeat. It's too painful.

If you'd like to watch the film, I recommend watching it in digital format and skipping through at least x5 speed. You'll pretty much get the gist of it and, this way, you get to save that extra hour and forty five minutes for other things, like living, being creative, or even just sleeping. Almost anything you could find to do with your time, including staring blankly into nothingness, would be way more meaningful.
49 out of 87 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The movie about boredom
Tomislav Pokupec23 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
If I had to name 10 most boring movies this one would be my first! There is nothing happening in the movie even when little sister arrives. We all can appreciate the effort that goes in to making a movie and this is the only reason that I won't give the lowest score possible. Is it romantic; yes OK but nothing special. Is it dark; yes OK it is but it can be done much better. And that is the most annoying thing about this movie. Everything is in the middle it is not a good romance it is not a very dark movie and it sure as hell isn't a horror movie, the drama part I can give to you.

Also I am reading other reviews stating that the characters are well rounded and easy to connect with… I really didn't feel any connection to any character they are all unclear because they have to be unclear they are bored from life. This is probably the point to the movie.

Acting is probably the best part but with all the boredom you have to endure it really doesn't show as much What people see in this kind of movie I will never understand? Also I probably won't understand what Jim Jarmusch wonted to say with this film but it was probably nothing in his mind also or he was bored!
14 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Eternal Love
Claudio Carvalho24 June 2014
In the abandoned Detroit, the depressed musician Adam (Tom Hiddleston) lives in an old house in the middle of derelict buildings with his musical instruments and books. Adam has been a vampire for centuries but is tired with the fate of the world taken by wrong decisions of mankind. He has a confidentiality agreement with Ian (Anton Yelchin) that provides rare instruments to him and does not ask questions to him. Adam poses of Dr. Faust and buys blood bags from Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright) in nearby hospital. His wife and lover Eve (Tilda Swinton) lives in Tangier, Morocco's, and is also a vampire. Her best friend is "Kit" Marlowe (John Hurt) that supplies blood for her that he buys from a French doctor.

When Eve calls Adam from Tangier, she feels that he is down and she decides to fly to Detroit to meet him. She meets Kit to say good-bye to him and Kit tells Eve that he had a dream with her younger sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska). Eve and Adam reunite and spend the nights making love. Out of the blue, the wild and reckless Ava comes to Adam's house and turns their lives upside-down.

"Only Lovers Left Alive" is a stylish and original vampire movie with a story of eternal love and music. The plot has no clichés and is developed in slow pace, with charismatic characters, great performances and entertaining dialogs. I dare to say that "Only Lovers Left Alive" is in 2014 what "The Hunger" was in 1983. Fans of gore or conventional vampire movies will probably not like this feature. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Amantes Eternos" ("Eternl Lovers")
32 out of 56 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Movie of mood and metaphor
Dee Empty15 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This is a beautiful and artistic movie on many counts: mesmerising soundtrack, atmospheric sets and settings, dreamy camera-work and scene-play, methodically under-stated acting, and slow but sure character development. We get to know the four vampires, especially Adam (played brilliantly by Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (played by the versatile Tilda Swinton), from a series of contrasts and paradoxes as their motives, moods and lives change. They seem both ancient and modern,languorous yet focused, familiar but alien.

As the slim story-line and minimal back-story unfold, the movie focuses on triggering our empathy for creatures who have survived for several centuries, facing many challenges, the most constant of which is the threat of boredom and existential alienation. Apart from blood - as food and drug - their main motives for survival are human knowledge and culture: art, science, literature, music. Living on 'back-door' blood samples from hospitals, these 21st century vampires now avoid feeding on humans because of the growing chances of detection by modern police agencies.

Things had been going fairly smoothly for Adam, a retired rock star hiding away in an old house in Detroit, until his old 'lover' Eve returns from Tangiers, soon followed by her troublesome 'sister' Ava from LA. Ava brings heat to the door, and Adam's quiet life changes. But, as noted, the story is not the main thrust of this movie, nor is vampire mythology (it's not a standard horror flick). My feeling was that the director (Jim Jarmusch) wanted to take a fresh approach to the old narrative theme of empathizing with the experience of being immortal, as well as exploring the metaphor of living with a serious drug habit. He does well on both counts. A classy, moody movie, which you should definitely watch before making any decisions about becoming a vampire.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
not a masterpiece but interesting
ifrancetic20 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The movie is slow, ambiental, and the moral of it is missed by other comments, at least so far, so this is my take on it, before someone else does it better - my first review. I must agree with some of the other comments about the unmotivated name-dropping throughout the movie (listing historical figures main characters interacted with, inspired, or have been inspired by). That could have been done more casual, since Jim Jamrusch audience doesn't need to be baby fed. I didn't have a problem with the fact that the movie develops slowly, perhaps it suited me fine on a rainy Sunday evening I went to see it. Anyhow the cast for this is great, I expected nothing less from Tilda in this role, however Tom Hiddlestom, whom I see for the first time was also great, but I could not decide if the fact he reminds me to Adrien Brody in this role is good or not. Picking Detroit for the shooting site of better part of the film is also a great idea. As for the chemistry between the two lovers, I didn't really buy into it, even though it wasn't completely unconvincing, maybe that's just me, or maybe that wasn't the main idea despite the title. And finally the end of the movie brings a change in pace, where we see that once they run out of blood supply all the morality, tranquility, and intellect are stripped off the main characters (much like the human behavior they criticize more than once), and they become what they are hungry vampires (humans).
24 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A childish vampire film with wasted talents
MG Soikkeli17 March 2014
This is a story how sid & nancy wanted to be vampires… or is it the other way round, every male vampire wants to be a rock star - and every female one longs to be an eternal groupie? At least Jim Jarmusch knew what he wanted: money for a film with two contemporary cool film stars, Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. The magic word for film industry is still "vampire", so Jarmuch wrote a story where there are two lovers who "just happen to be vampires" (as Jarmusch has told in interviews).

Except that there's isn't really any story, any plot, any romance - and definitely no vampires. The characters of Swinton & Hiddleston are based on rock mythology rather than on vampire mythos. They do drink blood, but it's only a cheap metaphor and easy excuse to show drug-addiction with romantic allusions to the history of artistic use of opium. Only cool thing with this film is the title: ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE.

Most of the time S & H just recline lazily in different positions and occasionally talk about the beauty of instruments. They are multilingual, multitalented artists themselves, but there is nothing in their discourse to prove how wise or gifted they are. The references to the mutual history of vampire life are so stupid that the script sounds like it's written by a 12-year-old who thinks he (= JJ) has invented the concept of vamp film.

The stills of this movie may give an impression of a serious vampire movie. Camera-work is beautiful indeed, and T & S try to be seriously anaemic in their characters. But when the little sister vamp (Mia Wasikowska) jumps into story and acts like little sisters do, you finally realise how playfully boring this film about eternal boredom really is.

Yes, such a waste of time and talents.
24 out of 46 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
So unnecessary
marinkobg1 March 2014
Empty, boring, I've battled with sleep, it was really tough to finish this movie without leaving and I never do that.

I think I understand art house movies, I don't have anything against slow paced movies, I loved and still love Dead Man as one of my favorite western movies, but this one, oh no.

Maybe I should give one star for performances, but no, this plot less black hole of a movie sucked those too.

Two hours of suffering for art that never appears, not a single glance. Few laughs for jokes that you knew were coming, not worth it.

I don't see this movie categorized as comedy, mistake, the only way this movie can pass is sarcastic comedy.

OK, maybe director had in mind to bore us to death, that way and only that, we could realize what's like to exist hundreds of years, bored, suicidal, etc.
24 out of 46 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
So Dull, So Pretentious
freemantle_uk12 April 2014
If you want to find the definition of a pretentious art house film then Jim Jarmusch's latest film Only Lovers Left Alive supplies that demand, a film that is full of itself, as it digs deeper into literature, science and philosophy.

Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is a reclusive vampire musician in Detroit who spends his time collecting guitars and other antiques and has fallen into a suicidal melancholia. His only contacts are a underground dealer, Ian (Anton Yelchin) and a haematologist, Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright). On the other side of the world his wife, Eve (Tilda Swinton) has been living a comfortable live in Tangiers with other vampires when she decides to reunite with her husband and reignite their relationship in Motown.

Only Lovers Left Alive is a very self-absorbed film, indulging in the main character's depression and working as a form of wish-fulfilment for Jarmusch. As he throws in a vampire who is really Christopher Marlowe, played by John Hurt and there are literary references to Lord Bryon and Marlowe's Dr. Faust.

Only Lovers Left Alive is an art-house film that only a certain audience will look for every bit of meaning from every single scene and frame. Jarmusch uses Hiddleston as his surrogate to criticise the downfall of art and culture, using the decaying city of Detroit as the backdrop and symbol to illustrate this, including showing Detroit's major theatre which had been turned into a parking lot.

Jarmusch and his team do get a great cast for their film and Hiddleston and Swinton do work well together, having chemistry and showing themselves as the thespians that they are. But it was Mia Wasikowska as Eve's sister, Ava, who had the best role, injecting some energy in the proceedings. She added conflict to the relationship as Adam and Eve have differing opinions about her as Ava is a character who has much more younger, child-like personality and being unable to control her thirst. Wasikowska should have been introduced into the film earlier to give Only Lovers Left Alive more of a dramatic drive. Jeffrey Wright too was underused, only appearing for two scenes.

Jamusch makes a very slowly paced, drawn out film, using long montages of driving and conversation about the relationships and past. With the bland, dark cinematography and plodding approach led to Only Lovers Left Alive to be a very boring and bland film that is over-hyped due to the director's reputation.

Only Lovers Left Alive does have the occasional witty line, usually courtesy of Swinton and is out its most visually engaging when a dead body has to be deposed. But it is a movie that has little of a narrative, more focused on being arty and philosophical, then telling an interesting vampire story.

Please visit
28 out of 55 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Really disappointing...
liz7827 April 2014
It's pretty easy to fancy this film as cool and arty and whatnot, but let's resist the hype and our hunger for coolness for a sec, and see it as it is, shall we?

It is so incredibly empty and banal that it's almost shocking. Simply NOTHING happens in this film in any level. Yes, actors are cool and beautiful, images, too, music, well, I leave that to your taste (I felt like cutting my wrists after a while). But the point is that all these can't do much more than create a feeling, an atmosphere. Could have been a wonderful music video, for example, conveying this particular feeling, but to make it into a 120 mins film without apparent story, message, dynamics, moral/intellectual/character progression, was just a mistake.


So, there's Adam, depressed and suicidal throughout the film, no change in mood and facial expression whatever. He composes music but not clear to whom or for what since he truly despises humans and prefers complete anonymity. He doesn't even show his music to his fellow vampire, Eva, because "it's personal". At the same time, it's clearly not enough to cheer him up or give a purpose for his life. His only happy moments are when he takes his actual drug portion (blood in this case, but it's irrelevant). He lives separately from wife whom he adores and longs for, but that doesn't stop him from buying a wooden bullet in order to kill himself.

There's Eve, the wife, whose life is equally without direction or purpose, but at least it doesn't disturb her. She's happy with her books and the company of some fellow superior being and, of course, her actual portion of drug. Her relationship with Adam presented in a totally empty, unsophisticated way, no details, no depth, no answers about how desire could last so long, how their feelings changed during all those centuries. It's empty, colourless, something like a teenage fantasy about "perfect love", which, of course, we all know by age 20, doesn't exists.

And there's Eva, her sister, who is quite irritating and silly, but at least is able to LIVE, inquire, jump in the water and stay open. Of course, she is very quickly kicked out of their life, as she brings danger and questions and unexpected things, and it's just not what those two want. God knows what they want - seemingly nothing.

Quite frankly, it's like an attempt from Jarmusch to pour his pessimism and misanthropy onto the world. Like a massive cry about how lost he feels in this world ruled by senselessness and stupidity and destructiveness. And you could argue that this is the exact purpose of film-making and art in general: paint a picture, hold a mirror to whatever, but to me it's just not good enough to present an "everything is crap" message and leave things to that. It's irritating as a matter of fact. If this is all you can say, go to a therapist and discuss it. If this is what you feel and think that you can offer some kind of solution or answer to it, make a film.
38 out of 78 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
kirstuk1 March 2014
This film was a drag, very slow and quiet. The music featured is great. But such a boring film, one big long drag. I wouldn't really class it as a horror, like I thought it would be. There are some bad jokes. Don't take popcorn in the cinema with this film, most of the film is very quiet, where no one is talking or doing anything, long pauses too. Not the usual vampire film, no gore. It seemed to go on forever, much longer than the time. Was pleased for it to finish, although it fins here'd on what looked like a good bit, the only good bit. The actors where good, and make up. The music was very good, the quietness over most of the film was too much.
26 out of 51 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Enervated View with a Vampire
ThurstonHunger1 January 2015
Wasn't planning on watching this, but so many films had it on the preview reel, that pushed me over the limit. As others have said, this doesn't add much to the vampire genre, indeed as compared to other films there doesn't seem to be much at risk.

No one's being hunted or haunted, well aside from having a problem when an in-law comes to town that injects a little life into the film. There are luxurious scenes of blood as absinthe, orgy-in-a-glass drinking shots. There's some ham-fisted citing of the world's greatest artists (even a fake Shakespeare citing, which had gone into hiding for a while). And there's homage to vampire lore, notably the requisite of an invitation in.

I guess this is a mediation on how love is all that there is to the world, but as John Hurt's Marlowe points out, why do they (Adam and Eve...ugh...) live apart? Well, great artists are important as well, but perhaps only as their art captured their passion.

Overall the film felt less passion infused, and more a slow, distracted foreplay for an MTV debut of a single from the talented Yasmine Hamdam.

That's a little unfair, but I walked away contemplating whether I'm a bit overmusch in my Jarmusch intoxication. Perhaps trace elements of the vampire ennui infected me? Certainly a film for fans of costume and props and to a degree locations. Warren Zevon, RIP, would have really loved to have met the tailors of these Nosferatu two.

Please see "Ghost Dog" and at least listen to "Dead Man" first.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
You may be the only one left awake at Only Lovers Left Alive.
Linda Best15 March 2014
This is the first Jarmusch film I've seen, so did not know what to expect. The reviews have been fantastic, but I was leaving the cinema very disappointed. Jarmusch seems to be very fond of long and contemplative shots. Very quickly I learned that the key was simply to sit back and let the film wash over me, because generally speaking it moves very slowly. Despite being in love with each other, married couple Adam and Eve are living in different countries. Why? Adam has fashioned a nest for himself in a dilapidated Victorian house in present-day Detroit. Eve lives in the ancient and exotic town of Tangier. I enjoyed more the interior design of their homes than the movie itself. The long scene with the pretty Lebanese singer at the end feels completely unnecessary.
29 out of 58 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews