Supernova (15) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Harry Macqueen, UK, 2020, 93 mins

Cast:  Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci

Review by Carol Allen

This is a love story about two men who have been together for twenty years.  But their love is being tested by the fact that fifty something Tusker (Stanley Tucci) has developed young-onset dementia and his partner Sam (Colin Firth) has had to abandon his career as a concert pianist to look after him.

Sam, who has always relied heavily on Tusker to make the decisions, decides to take them on a road trip in their battered old camper van, before Tusker becomes too ill.  The idea is to revisit places with happy memories from their past and to reconnect with friends and family. 

The film is an excellent example of good film acting, led by two beautiful and contrasting performances from Firth and Tucci.  Firth as Sam is sad, tense, at times a touch irritable as the strain of the situation starts to tell.   Tusker (Tucci) is a touch sardonic, still ostensibly well, articulate and largely functioning as the man he has always been.  But he is very conscious of what lies ahead. He knows he is losing control of his life.  The book he is writing is not progressing, as he is now losing the ability to write.  And when reading a speech in celebration of his love for Sam at a friends and family gathering, he has to give up and ask Sam to read it for him. 

The film is very moving.  One of the most telling moments encapsulating Tusker’s situation is when he says to Sam; “I want to be remembered for what I am now, not what I am about to become.”   The warmth of that family party provides contrast and relief from the intensity of the scenes between the two men and there is some nice gentle humour at times which leavens that same intensity.

This is a very loving and moving film.  It is also good to see a film totally centred on older people and a long term gay couple to boot, portrayed just as two people who love each other and happen to be gay. It will also provide some supportive acknowledgement to people dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s of any sort and to their families.

And as for the title, Supernova?  It refers to the exploding debris of a dead star which is incorporated into other entities in the universe, including we human beings.  A poetic metaphor for the lasting effect we have on each other, even when we are no more 

In cinemas from 25th June