After numerous delays ‘Supernova’ finally gets a UK release after wowing audiences on the festival circuit for the past year. Acting royalty Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth star in Harry Macqueen’s engrossing and deeply heartfelt story about a couple dealing with an imminent tragedy – one that has been looming over them for quite some time. There will not be a dry eye in the house after watching this delicately observed and devastatingly effective drama with two superb leading turns.
After twenty years together, Sam (Firth) and Tusker’s (Tucci) blissful life has been shattered following Tusker’s diagnosis with early onset dementia. Determined to spend as much time together as possible, the pair decide to travel across England in their old campervan, visiting friends and family, and returning to some locations from their past that hold a special connection to them. But as Sam and Tusker’s trip progresses, they are both forced to confront the grave reality of their situation, as Tusker’s condition worsens.
The chemistry between Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth is wonderfully observed here, with the two easily convincing as a caring couple who have had a wonderful life together. Their short-hand dynamic gives the film a central relationship that’s not only believable but engaging and welcoming too. You want to know more about these characters and their life together, which hooks the audience in completely, and gives the dramatic resonance of the plot even more emotional weight.
Sam and Tusker’s interactions with friends and family open a detailed and engrossing window into their lives and makes us care for them immediately. The film has amassed an impressive ensemble of supporting talent, including Pippa Haywood, James Dreyfus, Ian Drysdale, John Alan Roberts and Sarah Woodward who all contribute to flesh out the story well, and gives the two leads a great chance to shine.
But as good as the supporting cast are, this is still very much a two-person play. A study into true love and how that that must change when faced with disastrous choices that shatters ones hopes and dreams for the future. Stanley Tucci is one of the most versatile actors of his generation, and he brings an effortless charm to Tusker that shines onscreen. You can imagine he’s the life of the party which makes his descent all the more immediate and wounding. By contrast, Firth is all of us – someone who has to live with a little bit of denial just to get through the day. The slow, meticulous demise of his positivity is crippling is see, with Firth delivering one of his best performances in years. As both men have to deal with the inevitable, it’s their love that makes this story so engaging.
Dementia has featured more prominently in movies recently. ‘Still Alice’ with Julianne Moore and most recently ‘The Father’, with Anthony Hopkins, have delivered noteworthy depictions of how this evil condition breaks apart the lives of everyone its in close proximity to. Whilst ‘The Father’ really delved into what its like for a dementia patient struggling to make sense of their world, ‘Supernova’ is a broader strokes study. It’s just as devastating come the end though, and handles the complexities of the choices the characters have to make with brevity and realism.
Deeply emotional and a perfect character study into people dealing with tragedy, loss and acceptance, ‘Supernova’ is a must-see drama that lingers long in the soul. It’s not an easy watch, especially if you’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with some of the issues raised in the film first-hand, but its one of the finest dramas you’ll see all year. The casting is perfect, Macqueen’s eye for a shot keeps the film as a beautiful ode to our country, and the subject matter is dealt with honestly and with a dignity that is seldom seen in some mainstream cinema.
Cast: Stanley Tucci, Colin Firth, Pippa Haywood, James Dreyfus, Ian Drysdale, Nina Marlin, John Alan Roberts, Sarah Woodward Director: Harry Macqueen Writer: Harry Macqueen Certificate: 15 Duration: 93 mins Released by: StudioCanal Release date: 25th June 2021