The second feature-length film from writer and director Harry Macqueen (“EastEnders”, “Hinterland”), Supernova is a sweet-natured, funny and tender affair backed up by two powerhouse performances from our leading men.
Colin Firth (“1917”, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”) and Stanley Tucci (“A Private War”, “Beauty And The Beast”) are Sam and Tusker respectively, spending their holiday in an RV driving around the stunning Lake District in Cumbria.
The first port of call is Sam’s sister Lilly, Pippa Haywood (“Four Kids And It”, “Bodyguard (TV)”), whereby the two men shack up in Sam’s old room, in a tiny bed, which makes Sam grumpy, but Tusker is doing because he has arranged a surprise for him, an evening surrounded by friends.
It quickly becomes clear that Tusker is suffering from dementia, having been diagnosed some two-years earlier, he is now starting to forget words, slow down, getting lost and can no longer write, destined never to finish his latest book.
Sam meanwhile is a classical pianist, out of practice by his own admission, who has a gig coming up that he doesn’t want to do but Tusker is ‘frog-marching’ him into.
The pair reminisce about the past, places they’ve been, things they’ve seen, knowing that this will be the last time they do any of this with any ease. You get the sense they haven’t spoken about Tusker’s illness, the constant elephant in the room.
However, circumstances, mainly Tusker’s plan, force the issue to the fore and the pair must confront the very thing they both appear to be hiding each other from, the inevitable, the end.
Supernova is a drama, of that there is no doubt, it’s made by BBC films so you can tell the nature of it just from that. However, Macqueen has packed the film with funny moments too, it’s not light-hearted, given the subject matter, but these two men are still laughing, still poking fun at each other.
All of this is done with such warmth and tenderness though, the performances from both Firth and Tucci are mesmerizing. Tucci in particular stands out for me. You can see the man Tusker is, or was, from the way people interact with him and how he initially interacts with them.
Equally, you can see he knows he’s fighting a losing battle; he doesn’t want to give up, but he knows what is coming, he knows what he will become, and he doesn’t want that either.
Supernova features stunning visuals, the Lake District is an area of astonishing beauty and Macqueen captures that, makes it shine on screen.
Alongside the two powerful performances of our leading men, the tenderness between them, the in-jokes, the looks and touches and the inevitable sadness that lurks beneath it all, Supernova is an emotional, powerful movie that I loved, absolutely loved.