Live Twice, Love Once

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Live Twice, Love Once Movie Poster Image
Affecting dramedy about facing Alzheimer’s; cursing.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 101 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

In times of adversity, families must strive to work together; acceptance, understanding, and humor are healing and helpful to all. Appreciating individuals for their unqiueness is essential for growth, satisfaction, and brings great rewards. Families are complex; they need nurturing, open communication, forgiveness, and respect to successfully survive. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

In challenging times, characters evolve into nurturing, communicative, loving members of a family. An insolent 11-year-old learns valuable lessons and makes important behavioral changes. 

Violence
Sex

Infidelity is a plot element. 

Language

Several uses of "f--k," "s--t," and one subtitle reads "retarded."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character smokes cigarettes, but is unhappy about it. Wine is consumed in a dinner scene. Drinking and some drunkenness at a wedding. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Live Twice, Love Once is a Spanish-language film set in and around Valencia, Spain. It's a dramatic story, incorporating both comedy and irony, about a university mathematics professor after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. As the retired professor's condition worsens, his relationship with his exasperating but well-meaning daughter and his own awareness of what is to come send him on a journey to find an early love that he's never forgotten. Some profanity is included, mostly "f--k," often uttered by a precocious 11-year-old. While there's no sexuality, infidelity plays a role in the story. Wine is consumed in social settings; some drunkenness occurs at a boisterous wedding. For English-speaking audiences, the film is available on Netflix, either translated (dubbed) into English or with English subtitles.

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What's the story?

Emilio Pardo (Oscar Martinez) lives a mostly solitary life in LIVE TWICE, LOVE ONCE. Retired from a lifetime of teaching, Emilio is content with his music, his home, his visits to a neighborhood cafe, and the challenge of Sudoku. A few lapses of memory and a bit of confusion send him to the local hospital where he discovers that he has Alzheimer's disease. Hoping to keep the news to himself, Emilio is more than a little irritated when his daughter Julia (Inma Cuesta) immediately learns of his condition. What was to be Emilio's solitary path now becomes a family affair. And what a family it is: Felipe (Nacho Lopez), Julia's husband, is an overzealous "life coach," and Blanca (Mafalda Carbonell) is about as self involved and annoying as an 11-year-old can be. Julia wants her dad to move in with them, but Emilio adamantly refuses. What he doesn't tell them is that the first thing he's going to do is find the young girl who was his first love before he's destined to forget her. In trying to spend what may be his last cogent days on a long-wished-for quest, Emilio is reminded that life can be messy, especially when family is involved. 

Is it any good?

A fresh take on a familiar concept, sharp writing and directing, along with wonderfully complex characters and performances, deliver both laughs and tears in this well-told story. Live Twice, Love Once, an award-winner in Spain, is a mature film that deals effectively with both family separation and reconciliation in sorrowful times. Young Marfalda Carbonell's feature debut as Blanca is remarkable. The film's creative team, however, struggles with the resolution. As the story plays out, there are a surplus of possible final sequences. The one they choose for Emilio Pardo felt felt more forced than they probably realized. Still, the movie is well worth a look.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the joys of watching movies from other countries. What do audiences learn about the commonality of humanity by seeing different lives and cultures? Which scenes in Live Twice, Love Once felt familiar? 

  • Movies can be plot-driven, character-driven, or action-driven. Find out what those terms mean. In which category does this movie best belong? Why? 

  • Live Twice, Love Once has a well-defined take on generational differences. How did the filmmaking team clearly differentiate the three generations of folks in the story?

  • Think about Blanca's character arc. What events and situations were important in shaping her growth? How did her intuitive behavior positively affect the behavior of her parents and grandfather?

Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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