Andy's Anachronisms
Time Travel Film Reviews

Twice Upon A Yesterday (1998)
In the game of love, three's are wild

Directed by: Maria Ripoll


An unfaithful, small-time actor Victor Bukowski (Doug Henshall) is desperate to win back his ex-girlfriend Sylvia (Lena Headley) before she marries another man. One evening Victor encounters to two Spanish-speaking garbage men who grant Victor's wish to have a second chance to mend his ways and win back his girlfriend. Magically, Victor is transported back in time prior to their break-up. Victor soon learns that the truth behind the old adage, "Watch what you wish for, you may get it" as things don't go as planned.


I initially saw this movie several years ago at the Toronto International Film Festival when it was called The Man with Rain in His Shoes. It has had a number of other titles depending on the country it was released in,

France - If Only...
Spain - Lluvia en los zapatos [English Translation: Rain in the Shoes]
Germany - Lieber gestern als nie [English Translation: Better Yesterday than Never]

Incorporating elements of magical realism the Don Quixote-quoting Spanish garbage men transport Victor "magically" to the past where he is give a second chance to right what he perceives to be the failing in his and Sylvia's relationship. Victor soon discovers that fate maybe stronger than he realizes as events still conspire to end their relationship and set them on different paths.

While the tone of the movie is melancholic, bordering on depressing at times, I found the payoff worth while. In a relatively upbeat ending that felt deserved and not just tacked on, Victor is allowed to find peace with the world and his relationships with the women in his life. Not exactly recommended viewing if you are going through a messy break up. I did however find it good therapy on some level for putting past relationships in perspective and moving on with life.

I would be tempted to classify Twice Upon a Yesterday as "chick flick" told from a guy's perspective, if there is such a thing. In any case it's an interesting take on the "What if…" element of personal relationships.

Penelope Cruz makes an appearance in the second half of the film as love interest for the forlorn Victor and is as stunning as ever.

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