gif: the deep blue sea
The 25 Best Romances of the 21st Century, From ‘Carol’ to ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’
Our choices range from the auteur visions of Ang Lee and Richard Linklater to the unabashedly mainstream (gulp) oeuvre of Sandra Bullock. Get your creamed spinach and poached eggs ready.
By Michael Nordine, Anne Thompson

5. “Only Lovers Left Alive” (2013) 

Jim Jarmusch’s best movie in decades is a vampire love story shot for $7 million in the noirish ruins of Detroit and the narrow alleys of Tangier. Both deadpan funny and visually delightful, the movie follows melancholic musician vampire Adam (Tom Hiddleston), holed up in a frayed Detroit house in a decaying neighborhood, who joyfully reunites with his centuries-long mate Eve (Tilda Swinton) when she flies in from Africa. They’d rather acquire black-market blood than prey on humans. But those rules don’t necessarily apply to Eve’s feral younger sister vampire (Mia Wasikowska), who fancies Adam’s human link to the outside world (Anton Yelchin). Swinton and Hiddleston define cool and sexy, and Wasikowska has never been so delightfully devilish. —AT

6. “The Deep Blue Sea” (2011)

Terence Davies has directed just eight movies in his decades-long career, none more heartbreaking than “The Deep Blue Sea.” The writer/director made Terence Rattigan’s play all his own with the help of Tom Hiddleston and a masterful Rachel Weisz, here playing two star-crossed lovers whose memories of World War II are almost as traumatic as their doomed affair. “Tragedy’s too big a word — sad, perhaps, but hardly Sophocles,” says Weisz, but you may disagree after watching what she goes through. Forget being on the verge: This is a woman in the midst of a nervous breakdown, and rarely since Gena Rowlands in “A Woman Under the Influence” has watching that downward spiral been so painful and cathartic all at once. —MN