Only Lovers Left Alive - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Only Lovers Left Alive Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2014
Jarmusch knows well the kind of engrossing atmosphere that he wants to invoke with this story of old-fashioned, cultivated vampires who feel intensely disappointed in people's disdain for Science and Art and are doomed to succumb in the mediocrity that dominates the world.
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2015
Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston's alabaster pale, rocker cool, ritualistically tender vampire love spans eras, and while this film is a bit of a narrative hot mess, Jim Jarmusch's languid pacing and attention to detail (the books, the instruments, those omnipresent sunglasses) create a wry and intellectual atmosphere that is absent in most vampire flicks...well, most "flicks" in general. The Marlowe having written Shakespeare's work gag is rather trite, and the most action and conflict-filled part of the movie comes too late and ends too early with the arrival and departure of Ava - the bratty, simpering baby vampire - played by a hilariously vexing Mia Wasikowska. She's so cute that you just want to stab her in the face.
Super Reviewer
April 20, 2015
Two disaffected vampires deal with existential angst.
Moody and atmospheric, Jim Jarmusch's vampire film is heavy on snob and light on plot. While I'm never one to complain about films that reward the audience for being smart and understanding obscure references, I also need more than abstruse literary allusions to keep me invested in the characters. Structured in four acts, the first two acts are about the two leads, and Jarmusch's vamps wonder if life is worth living and love is worth loving, eventually resolving these conflicts in under-toned affirmatives. Mia Wasikowska adds some life to the dour existence, but she is quickly exiled, and since this is the one part of the film where we had a real plot and conflict, the film limps into the final act.
Overall, Jarmusch's reliance on mood over story leaves the film flat.
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2014
Only Lovers Left Alive presents its vampires like ordinary people. They simply exist like normal human beings, adapting with the times, mastering the art of moving around the world before sunrise, and have their own ways of obtaining blood, which does not involve killing or turning humans into their kind. Vampires have never been depicted this way.
You really get absorbed in their lifestyle. There's no violence at all in the film. Sure, there's blood and people die (off-screen), but the film is more about how the vampires feel about their lives. Adam and Eve frequently refer to humans as "zombies" because they perceive the race is entering into a phase where all inspiration or innovation is gone and human beings just exist for the sake of existing. This makes the two of them question whether they even want to stay alive for the next hundred to thousand years because what would there be to look forward to? This is a totally engrossing film that blends music, romance and drama to create a unique mythology in which vampires exist in a human world. It uses the art of film as a language to influence its audience to think.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2014
Humanity's worst sin? Its boring. So muse the principals here, an elegant, intelligent, cooler than cool couple who isolate to pursue their various aesthetic interests, sort of Renaissance thinkers, alone and very nearly happy in their rarified world of trivial pursuits.
And they're vampires.
Hiddleston and Swinton and Hurt are all good here, not simply answering the question of what does one do with unlimited quantities of time, but doing so with aplomb. Its a sweet romance of a film.
Super Reviewer
August 13, 2014
A stunning love story between two undying souls.

Good Film! 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.

Adam ('Tom Hiddleston (I)'), an underground musician reunites with his lover for centuries (Tilda Swinton) after he becomes depressed and tired with the direction human society has taken. Their love is interrupted and tested by her wild and uncontrollable little sister (Mia Wasikowska).
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2014
The male partner of a pair of centuries-old vampire lovers struggles with ennui. Not much really happens, but Jim Jarmusch's movie does a fantastic job of encasing us inside the vampires' immortal languor.
Super Reviewer
March 11, 2014
Adam is a vampire. Adam has ennui. Adam drives around crumbling Detroit at night sighing. It's mesmerizing. But here are my three questions: 1) Why do all vampires have janky hair? 2) Where do they get all their money? 3) What is up with the gloves?
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2014
Remarkable and haunting contemporary exploration of vampire myths in a halo of obscure and sensual romanticism and decadentism.
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2014
This is a highly enjoyable film. Simply intoxicating.
Super Reviewer
May 10, 2015
Mood, setting, subtlety, and camerawork are what make Only Lovers Left Alive a memorable independent vampire story. The film is in constant darkness, the time a vampire would be awake, and calling the film dark both literally and aesthetically is an understatement. It's a rarity to see a film with this kind of tone; Detroit and Tangier, Morocco are beautifully desolate and dimly lit throughout. Director Jim Jarmusch portrays the cities as if they were in an alternate reality, and it's worth watching for that alone. The film is nicely shot as well, and makes Tilda Swinton walking down a dark alleyway look as cool as you could imagine. The vampire aspects of the script are very subtle, unlike most vampire tales. We're never shown anyone's neck being bitten, and there is no skin burning in the sun; these vampires have been alive for too many years to make such foolish mistakes. "It's been 87 years [since we've seen my sister] Eve (Tilda Swinton) comments. The grunge-rock soundtrack supports the badass look of Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve, who sport dark shades and leather gloves in public. The drawback is the extremely slow-burning pace. If you're looking for a deep, intricate script, you're looking in the wrong place. It's the vibe and the minute details that make Only Lovers Left Alive a cool vampire movie.
Super Reviewer
½ April 30, 2014
In "Only Lovers Left Alive," Adam(Tom Hiddleston) is an immortal vampire and reclusive musician living in Detroit. When he is not busy sulking, he drives to the hospital to bribe Dr. Watson(Jeffrey Wright) for some O-positive blood. So, it's a good thing that his eternal lover Eve(Tilda Swinton) who normally lives in Tangiers where she hangs out with Christopher Marlowe(John Hurt) is coming to visit for which she only packs the essentials.

It's surprising that Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton have not played vampires previously(To be fair, Swinton, Hiddleston & Hurt have all played immortals of one sort or another before), since they share a sort of timeless pale beauty that could thrive in any era. It's the sort of perfect casting that Jim Jarmusch could not screw up if he tried. The ironic thing is Jarmusch really isn't trying anything, as there is not that much of a story here and the glorious shots of nighttime crumbling Detroit looked like they could have been handled by the second unit. As such, the movie succeeds as much on its decadent atmosphere as anything else, with Jarmusch taking the angle of vampires being addicts, some of whom live in William Burroughs' old stomping grounds of Tangiers.

Note: This is not Tilda Swinton's first encounter with Christopher Marlowe, as she starred in an adaptation of his play "Edward II" in 1991.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2013
Jarmusch's vampire epic is a truly memorable trip grounded with solid performances and an equally stunning performance by the now abandoned Detroit which was once so glamorous. A brilliant take on how people ought to behave after hundreds of years of living.
Super Reviewer
½ September 26, 2014
Mesmerizing, often dreary, yet relentlessly engaging, Only Lovers Left Alive is the most unique addition to the vampire genre I have seen, perhaps because that almost seems tangential to the larger narrative itself. Here is the story of two lovers, vampires at least centuries years old, who, together, face their growing disillusionment with the world, finding solace seemingly only in each other's company. It's a story of depression, weariness, and isolation, yet also one of hidden beauty, love, and timelessness.

The film has a narrative, but one that features little plot development or action, rather setting its sights on achieving a character study, and delivering on atmosphere. It succeeds on both accounts, focusing on the mundane aspects of vampire life, asking questions that are rarely posed in other genre pieces. We get a sense of their boredom, their peculiar observations on human society, and their uniquely evolved morality. This is achieved to near perfection due to a fantastic script, with strong dialogue, well developed characters, and a fantastic underlying sense of realism. The direction by Jim Jarmusch gives us a very methodical, slow burn sort of feel, but one that never wears out its welcome, enthralling the viewer at every turn.

And of course, the ultimate praise for Only Lovers Left Alive goes to Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton for brilliant performances. Both completely inhibit their characters, delivering portrayals that both capture our imagination, and frighten us with the way they organically control every scene.

Unique. Captivating. A Must Watch.

4.5/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
April 28, 2014
This is a very strange but incredible unique film of its kind from the one and only Jim Jarmusch; is a surprisingly Mesmerising and fascinating tale of Hipster Vampires in present day. Jarmusch proves once again he can make an excellent genre twist film following Dead Man and Ghost Dog. It carries Jarmusch's usual trademarks with rich subject matter, Deadpan comedy and unique sense of wonder/fascination that have made his films so incredible. It definitely in the League of being one of my favourites from Jarmusch, its even go the coolest soundtrack I've heard since Dead Man.
Super Reviewer
½ May 23, 2013
For a generation infused with generic, melodramatic vampirism plotlines, Only Lovers Left Alive stands apart with its captivating intellectuality, razor-sharp wit, and ingenious self-satire in regards to vampire mythology. It is darkly brooding, as any vampire film should be, but with intelligence, heart, and stunningly macabre cinematography.

Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, playing century-old lovers named Adam and Eve, embody the vampiric nature flawlessly, telling a tale of the secrecy and survival of the vampire race. Unlike other vampires, Adam and Eve refuse to feed off humans out of fear of drinking contaminated blood that has been affected by environmental decline, therefore retrieving only clean blood from local suppliers or blood banks.

Adam is a lonely, secluded vampire who was once a great influence on the music industry, though has since found solace in solidarity and collecting vintage guitars. He is soon reunited with Eve, his long-time lover, who brings life and joy back into his life as they explore the city and dance to old records.

Their brief moment of happiness and tranquility, however, is rudely interrupted by the arrival of Eve's younger sister, Ava, who leaves a trail of havoc and ruin in her wake, seemingly without regard for her consequences. The trio embodies an entirely different breed of vampirism than what we have become accustomed to in modern cinema, making Only Lovers Left Alive a pleasant change from the norm while never losing touch with its morbidity.
Super Reviewer
½ August 19, 2014
A fantastic "hang-out" film. The vampire stuff is would seem to be incidental, but it's there to provide Jarmusch the opportunity to muse about all kinds of things. The lack of plot, teenage angst, and exposition is refreshing for a film about the undead
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