Critics' Pick

Only Lovers Left Alive (R)

Drama 123 April 11, 2014
By Stephanie Zacharek
Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive is silly and deeply serious at once, an elegy with a light touch and more than a dash of hope. It is, to put it simply, a movie about people who still care. Tom Hiddleston's Adam might care too much. A vampire musician hiding out in broken-down, half-deserted Detroit, Adam sleeps by day and sits in his living room by night, alone and palely loitering, to cop a phrase from Keats.

Jarmusch's vampires care about beautiful things -- silk dressing gowns, string quartets -- and about how they were made. They live among stacks of books. They stay in love for a very long time. And though they may be youngsters on the outside, inside they feel 300 or more, witnesses to an ever-marching parade of culture that sometimes seems to have left them behind. If any of that sounds self-pitying, that's part of the point: The old ways have to scooch over for the new, and Jarmusch, who was making eccentric indies before "indies" were even a thing, has enough of a sense of humor to admit that isn't always bad.

What Adam really yearns for, though, is his vampire wife, who lives in a hideaway in Tangier: Eve (Tilda Swinton) is lovely here, a moonbeam of common sense. She senses that Adam is mopier than usual, and arranges a series of night flights so she can get to him, packing only books -- just the necessities, really. Their reunion is perfect; the film is the director's most emotionally direct since Dead Man, and maybe his finest, period.
Jim Jarmusch Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright, Slimane Dazi, Carter Logan, Wayne Brinston Jim Jarmusch Reinhard Brundig, Jeremy Thomas Sony Pictures Classics

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