Only Lovers Left Alive

Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) are not the same kind of people.

Adam is dark and brooding with messy long, black hair hanging over one eye (the very embodiment of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman), sulky; an embodiment of Hamlet. He has a preference for an analog life. His home phone (no cell) is a chunky mid 90’s set with an adjustable antenna. His internet is dial-up; halogen light bulbs, the works. He’s made a home in one of Detroit’s decaying mansions that recall the splendor of the Motor City years. His abode relfects what the mirror cannot.

Eve is platinum blonde and full of verve. She loves her iPhone (apple, get it?), bright colors, and looks towards the future with a wondrous imagination. Eve is in love with the world and Adam. Eve facetimes him from the sunny and warm Tangier where she spends her nights adoring Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt).

Only, Adam and Eve aren’t really “people”. They’re multi-centuries old vampires. In love.

The intricate set design for the this very intimate film could be another character within itself. How they found so much of the vintage and antique for Adam’s mansion and the way in which it is compiled is stunning within itself. A true sense of what Adam values and does not value, the Zombies (his nickname for humans) march toward digital and environmental destruction, is effectively communicated singularly through his hovel. These are not your teenage dream vampires. Adam and Eve are very mature, urbane, and adult.

The vast majority of the film is an exploration of navigating a relationship that spans centuries. How Adam and Even relate to each other even though they lead very different afterlives. Most of the dialogue is split between the co-stars, making the viewer feel like closely held insider. 

Adam has become disillusioned with the world.  A performer and artist unable to present  his art to the world due to his immortality, he blames the Zombies for ruining everything. He is so depressed he procures a single wooden bullet to end it all. A dismayed Eve rushes to his side to remind him that joy is still possible. Luckily, before it begins to feel too claustrophobic, Eva (Mia Wasikowska), Eve’s little sister tracks the couple down, injecting a youthful vibrancy.  That is until she drains away her good will.


Unfortunately, there isn’t much to tell. Despite the incredibly sets, gorgeous music, and ridiculously talented actors, the story is barely there. It plays more like a slice of  life drama; which would be fine, but it runs a little too long and quiet. I would have enjoyed some more backstory on the couple to fill the present out with more distinct feeling. They may be the vampires, but I need more to sink my fangs into. We never learn where they are from nor how they were turned. They are so different, one wonders how did they fall in love in the first place?  It is what keeps this beautiful and clearly passionate relationship feeling just thisshy of epic.




Maria Jackson
Review by Maria Jackson
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