Only Lovers Left Alive

Tom Hiddleston as Adam and Tilda Swinton as Eve
Tom Hiddleston as Adam and Tilda Swinton as Eve

Adam dresses in black, he has long black hair and lives in Detroit; he’s a musician, a “suicidal romantic scoundrel” and sometimes is tired of living because of the way zombies (us) are reducing the planet. Eve dresses in white, she has long blond hair,  she loves living in Tangiers and her books. She has made the best of living three thousand years; she scorns Adam for having missed “the real fun, like the middle ages, the tartars, the inquisitions, the floods, the plagues”. They are married, they are the lovers although she is several thousands of years older than he is. Because Adam and Eve are not an ordinary couple, they are vampires, fighting for survive in a world made of contaminated blood. They do not behave anymore “like in the XVth century”, drinking zombies to death. They have their suppliers of “good stuff” and when they can’t be apart no longer they meet: Eve packs some of her books as hand luggage and travels to the other side of the world in night flights.

“Adam is basically a Hamlet as played by Syd Barrett” – This is how Jim Jarmusch described the character to Tom Hiddleston
Eve in her Tangiers’ bedroom

One of my favourite scenes of this movie is Eve packing her books; she chooses some of them. Literature from all around the world, in different languages. These are the titles or authors that I have been able to recognize: Ramón de Campoamor “Los amores en la luna”, “Die Frage der Zeit”, Elif Shafak, “Don Quijote”, “Infinite Jest”, Jules Verne’s “Les anglais au Pole Nord”, Franz Kafka. When she passes her fingers through Lodovico Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso” she stops to observe the picture of one  of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s door panels of in Florence’s Baptistery: Adam and Eve, the original sin and the expulsion of Paradise.

Eves luggage1

creazione Adamo e dEva Ghiberti

As emblematic as Eve’s books is the gallery of portraits in Adam’s house, pictures and engravings of people that probably Adam has met in his life. I only recognise some of them: Bach, Kafka, Schubert, Poe, Mark Twain, Newton, Zappa, Wilde and… Christopher Marlowe.

Adam's gallery

The quiet life of Adam and Eve will be shattered by the appearance of her sister, Ava. Everything will be turned upside down but the lovers will be left alive. I don’t want to spoil the film for those of you who have not seen it; my friendly advice is for you to watch it and enjoy Jarmusch’s vision of Adam and Eve’s world. Needless to say, being Adam and Eve vampires, there’s not a single daylight scene. The curious thing is that you don’t miss the light.

Tom Hiddleston or the most attractive vampire since Gary Oldman


11 thoughts on “Only Lovers Left Alive

  1. Tilda Swinton is astonishing! Hiddleston is good but he can’t quite keep up with her – or is intentionally making room for her. And Adam’s and Eve’s love and devotion is truly inspiring.

    1. I wonder who can keep up with Tilda, she is above everyone!

      I think this depends also on the roles, she’s the one taking decisions (even if Adam at the end of the film makes the more “decisive” ones), Adam is more passive, he’s depressed, he’s ready to let himself go.

      1. Thank you so much for the link with the interview, it’s very interesting! I’ve just heard the intervires in the DVD and Tilda talked aboout talking with Jarmusch about this film for many years.

        I’ve found very interesting in the interview that you’ve linked that Jarmusch declares himself and anti-Stradfordian 🙂 I’m quite so myself, after reading more information about it after watching “Anonymous”. The curious thing is that I did not learn about the anti-Stradfordians or the Oxfordians in the university, very curious.
        John Hurt plays an amazing Kit Marlowe in the film.

        this is one of those movies that can be watched twenty times over and never get tired of it. 🙂

  2. Once again you introduce me to something I knew nothing about, that is quite amazing! I like this Hiddles with long black hair. Tilda Swinton! Just looking at her books gave me a thrill. And directed by Jarmusch! Heavens…

    1. Well, after watching The Hollow Crown two years ago i started following Tom Hiddleston’s career, and he was shooting this film then. This is just the second Jarmusch’s film I’ve seen. The first one was “Night on Earth” (another film just only by night, now that I think of it), and I liked it very much.
      Tilda… well, what can we say of Tilda in “Orlando”, for instance? Simpy amazing.

  3. Thank you for the review. Before I saw this film for the first time, I had been certain that the last great film of Jarmusch was “Night on Earth”. Now I have changed my opinion, and I think that “The Limits of Control” is very good as well. I believe I have seen “Only Lovers Left Alive” about 8 or 9 times already during the last couple of months 🙂

    By the way, there is also a picture of Thelonius Monk among the portraits in Adam’s house.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I will put that film in my watch list, then.

      Adam’s gallery is mesmerising… is there also a picture of Neil Young? I guess the XIXth century lady is Mary Wollstonecraft, isn’t she? And I think Shelley was also there.

      I would like to know more things about Adam and Eve’s biography

      1. It is! I didn’t recognize him myself, but here is the list:
        Mary Wollstonecraft is there too, but no Shelley.

        It’s a shame – I didn’t notice even Baudelaire… maybe just because I didn’t care much about anyone else after having noticed Monk 🙂

        As to Adam and Eve’s biography, I am going at least to google it when I have some spare time. I believe that, if Jarmusch don’t divulge it, people will begin compose their own versions, one weirder than another))

      2. thank you so much for the list! Wow, amazing, packed with also some of my personal heroes. Indeed Shelley is not there, but Keats is. 🙂

        Adam and Eve’s lives would make an amazing film, tv series or book! I wonder if Jarmusch has given it a thought.

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