An Unlikely Road Trip
Alzheimer’s is a nasty, crippling disease. It slowly chips away at your brain, stealing precious memories and leaving you a shell of the person you once were. Live Twice, Love Once is a poignant reminder of what this disease can do and what begins as a quirky comedy slowly dissolves into a much more reflective, heartbreaking drama.
At the heart of this one lies retired academic teacher Emilio. After learning he has Alzheimer’s he decides to set out to Navarro to find his childhood sweetheart before his memories fade to nothingness. Alongside daughter Julia and granddaughter Blanca, Emilio sets out for a road-trip that appears straight forward on paper but throws up a few surprises along the way.
The story itself plays out in a relatively straight forward manner which unfortunately means the middle portion of this film suffers a few pacing issues. If you can get past that however, Live Twice, Love Once gets over that obstacle by expertly shifting genres into something far more unexpected. As mentioned before, the film begins as a comedy and slowly peels that layer of humour away to reveal a beautiful, tender core that exposes the true damage Alzheimer’s can cause. This is also reinforced through the colours too, which suitably become more muted toward the third act of the film.
If you can persevere through some of the slower segments during the second act, the film rewards you greatly with a real sucker-punch of a finale. There’s some real tear-jerking moments here and for that alone, it elevates the film from a simple road-trip drama into something far more raw and emotional than it first appears. The different characters along the way do well in their supporting roles but Oscar Martínez deserves a lot of credit for his performance. He really brings Emilio to life in the best possible way and for that alone, this film is worth watching.
Live Twice, Love Once is a wonderfully emotional drama and a great example of how to subvert expectations in the best possible way. There’s some really poignant moments reserved toward the end and it’s helped greatly by some solid acting all round. The surprise inclusion of some genuine laugh out loud moments helps too, propping this Spanish film up as one of the better titles of 2020 and well worth checking out.
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Verdict - 8/10