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)

I couldn’t find a trailer with subtitles, but the previews on Netflix have subtitles.

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


Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia finally retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

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