Hollie Horror’s review published on Letterboxd:
The wealth of knowledge vampires must amass after thousands of years is fully realized in Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive. Even though most vampire films have explored the longevity of the immortal, we very rarely see them reminisce about Nikola Tesla, the Spanish inquisition or Charlie Feathers' music. They adapt, survive, evolve, dance, read, make music, and most importantly - they love.
Adam is a wistful poet, secluded in his decrepit house in Detroit where he spends most of his time writing funeral music and contemplating suicide. His wife, Eve, lives in Tangiers, surrounded by books in various languages with only enough space in the middle of her floor to dance. Their interests may be different but they respectfully indulge each other, bonding through their evolved ethos.
Concerned about her husband, Eve travels to Detroit to be with him, but not before conferring with her only friend, fellow vampire Marlowe. Before Eve arrives, we also learn that Adam has a single friend, a musical instrument procurer named Ian.
Adam and Eve are reunited and before long interrupted and troubled with the intrusion of Eve's sister Ava. Ava is a young vampire, who is far too rambunctious for Adam. Her presence puts in motion an upset that sends Adam and Eve on a new and unknown adventure.
While Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, John Hurt and Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) were all wonderful in their roles as vampires, I also thoroughly enjoyed the performances of the humans they interact with. Anton Yelchin was adorable as Ian, Adam's personal gofer zombie. There's a scene where he's in a Detroit nightclub with Adam, Eve and Ava; the three vampires are clad in gloves and sunglasses and Ian, who hero worships Adam, quietly and insecurely pulls out a pair of sunglasses and slips them on in the darkened club, this amuses Eve as she smirks at his gesture. It was so subtle and seemingly insignificant, but it was one of my favorite scenes in the entire movie. It shows a loving and adoring side of Eve. I also LOVED the inclusion of Jeffrey Wright as a doctor who strikes up a dealer relationship with a strange man, posing as a Dr. Faust, who illegally buys type o negative blood from his workspace. Each time we see Adam interact with Dr. Watson (Wright), the doctor calls him different names (Dr. Strangelove, Dr. Caligari). Jeffrey Wright perfected that small role. I also enjoyed the small added detail that acted as a nod to a role Jeffrey Wright once played, as when Eve is packing for her trip to Detroit, she fills her luggage with books, and one of the books was covering the work of Basquiat.
The music composed by Jozef van Wissem & Sqürl was hypnotic and nothing short of lovely. A perfect fit to a hypnotic and lovely film.
Vampirism is often romanticized, but in a way that comes off as cheesy or tired, Only Lovers Left Alive is the first vampire film that, for me, actually exudes romance and love.
In the end, it's as simple as the fact that both Adam and Eve have only one friend each, and once Ian and Marlowe are out of the picture, then, well, there's only lovers left alive.