Cliché but atmospheric Spanish love story about a couple of horny film students in desperate need of couples therapy.
Take the millennial story of a girl, a boy and an impossible love, mix it with Spanish life in the big city, film students, queer relationships, the Nokia 3310 and lots of sex and you get All the Times We Fall in Love. Literally translated as “every time we fell in love” and that title completely sums up the plot of this series. The boy and the girl fall in love again and again, but they also keep getting into trouble. And that process is both entertaining and exhausting to watch.
Irene moves to Madrid to become a film director and meets her new roommates and best friends at school. The series follows the members of this group of friends as they laugh, cry, date, have sex, study, and make movie references together. Among them is the handsome and charismatic Julio, who asks Irene to star in her short film, since they both fall madly in love.
Although the attraction between Irene and Julio is undeniable, he still doesn’t want to reach a real relationship. His timing is downright lousy and the longer they revolve around each other and repeat themselves, the more annoying it becomes for the viewer. Irene plays the murdered innocence, but she cheats, blames others, acts stupid and doesn’t know what she wants. Julio is emerging more and more as the conflicted actor who feels everything, but above all he does not speak and flees to drink, drugs and sex. The two cannot live with or without the other.
As the clichés pile up, the leads sometimes do things so incomprehensible that it’s frustrating. Fortunately, there are the supporting roles that save the day, with Irene’s roommates Da and Jimena in particular. They provide a comic note, put things in perspective and are much more human and perhaps even more layered than the ‘fairy tale duo’.
It is not the first time that Netflix presents its viewers with a series about the ups and downs of a group of Spanish twenty-somethings at a school. Carlos Montero, creator and writer of All the Times We Fall in Loveis one of the people behind the successful Elite and we also know the protagonist Georgina Amorós of this production.
But where Elite it’s about rich, shallow teens living unrealistic lives in a boarding school that looks like a chronic Instagram filter, it’s All the Times We Fall in Love much more ordinary, more accessible and much less stylish. From the first moment the series has something moving. The creators create a warm and colorful atmosphere through Spanish culture in everyday life.
Perhaps that’s because the series largely takes place in 2004. For those who were in their twenties at the time, the series will be a recognition party: chatting via MSN, texting on a Nokia, and dating. on appointments rather than through an app. The terrorist attacks in Madrid that year also play a role, though that story is less developed than might be expected based on the first draft.
In brief moments we jump back in time to 2022. A good starting point, because because the story takes place in both timelines, it becomes less flat. Different lighting has been chosen for the scenes in 2022, but the characters look almost the same and also behave the same as in 2004. That sometimes makes it difficult to tell what time it is and it’s puzzling to ask if I haven’t learned anything in all these years. There is hardly any character development.
Because of the warm moments and because there’s little to fault about the acting performances, you’d call it the makers of All the Times We Fall in Love almost forgiven that the love story of the main characters drags on for so long. Almost then, because to become truly fascinating, couples therapy is badly needed for a possible second season after this open ending.
All the Times We Fall in Love can be seen in Netflix.