Review: Live Twice, Love Once (Vivir dos veces)

Julia Cuesta in Live Twice Love Once (Vivir dos veces

Live Twice, Love Once (Vivir dos veces) is a Spanish language movie streaming on Netflix. It’s a sad but beautiful story about love lost and a family torn apart by dementia.

Live Twice, Love Once (Vivir dos veces) begins as the people around Emilio (Oscar Martínez) realize he’s not acting normally. Emilio himself notices that his memory is slipping but tries to cover it up.

Oscar Martínez and Inma Cuesta in Live Twice, Love Once (Vivir dos veces)

He’s given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. As months pass, his condition grows progressively worse. Emilio was a university math professor. Eventually he even forgets math.

His daughter Julia (Inma Cuesta) is almost as in denial about her father’s condition as he is. She has other issues to deal with, such as a roaming husband, Felipe (Nacho López), and a precocious daughter, Blanca (Mafalda Carbonell). Blanca has a boyfriend on social media she’s never met.

One thing the widowed Emilio doesn’t forget is his first love, Margarita. Played as an older woman by Isabel Requena, Margarita is still beautiful. Emilio tells his granddaughter about Margarita and she promptly finds her using social media.

Mafalda Carbonell in Live Twice, Love Once (Vivir dos veces)

Blanca has a slight disability and walks awkwardly. As her grandfather grows less and less filtered with the dementia, he often calls her lame, which is unnecessarily cruel. Especially since her social media connections are important to the outcome of the story and she gets around just fine.

From what Blanca learns, it looks like Margarita was a teacher, too, in Navarre. Emilio lives in Valencia. He sets off to Navarre, an almost 5 hour drive all the way across eastern Spain. He’s going by himself. Luckily, Blanca insists on going with him. Soon his ancient car refuses to go and Julia and Felipe come to rescue them. The outcome of that escapade is that Julia learns about the existence of her father’s first love.

I don’t want to give you any more spoilers about the storyline, except to say it’s both sweet and heartfelt while being terribly sad. There are some wonderful twists and surprises.

Live Twice, Love Once (Vivir dos veces) was directed by Maria Ripoll and written by María Mínguez. They crafted a touching tale about a disease that affects millions of people by building it around a family and a story of lost love. The actors were excellent, including young Mafalda Carbonell.

I thought it was a lovely, loving, film and recommend it without reservation.

Poster for Live Twice, Love Once (Vivir dos veces)

Does this film have special meaning to you in terms of how it portrayed Alzheimer’s patients?

8 thoughts on “Review: Live Twice, Love Once (Vivir dos veces)”

  1. Just watched it, the movie was very well done….. just in Jan 2020 I lost my Father to dementia/paranoia, with bouts exactly as acted in the movie. The story line is perfect, i could totally relate and libre through the raw emotion in the movie. Excellent! Thank you.

  2. My brilliant husband died of dementia. Although he could no longer talk, he was able to show me his caring and love until the end. The movie brought up so many memories of his last years. The message from Blanca is an important one for all caregivers to hear.

  3. A bittersweet and wonderfully humane story. Well written. Well acted. This film made me laugh a bit and made me cry also. The rest of the time it placed a large hard lump in my throat. But don’t think for a moment that for that reason I have not recommended it to dozens of people! It revisited the last years of my father’s life with Alzheimer’s, the angst of wanting all his illness to be a mistake, a misdiagnosis, something that would go away. It also allowed me to remember my own story of adolescent love, the recognition of that love having been the love of my life and the acceptance of what will never get to be.
    It is a wonderful family movie to be watched, from teenagers who can understand the subtleties to parents caught in the sandwich generation to grandparents who may be encouraged to tell stories about their lives they have never spoken about before. Thoroughly enjoyable. Have the tissue box handy and the hugs available.

  4. I have watched this movie several times and always go through a range of emotions from laughing to crying. These characters present as versions of real people I have known. A bonus is the reminder of a wonderful trip to Spain complete with olive trees!

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