Hankies at the ready…
Supernova, director Harry Macqueen’s follow-up to 2014 debut Hinterland, is a heartfelt and deeply affecting look at one couple coming to terms with an inevitable reality. Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci play Sam and Tusker, together for twenty years, enjoying a camper van holiday across England to visit family and look back on their fondest memories. Tusker is struggling with early onset dementia, and Sam fearful of a life without his best friend.
While the film certainly brings back memories of Michael Haneke’s devastating yet brilliant Amour, Macqueen’s approach is a little different. It’s a warm, affectionate and charming picture that reels the audience in with the likeability of its central characters and entertains every bit as much as it hurts.
Firth and Tucci are, undoubtedly, hugely responsible for the film’s success; two superbly talented and experienced actors with a wonderful chemistry that unfolds like magic on the screen. We really feel as if these characters have a history that is being threatened, and we truly grow to love them and care for their plight. Their commitment to their character traits and to the story’s most upsetting moments really sell the heartbreak of the situation; a long-term, happy and loving relationship is slowly fading away before our very eyes.
Both Sam and Tusker have to come to terms with a great deal in Supernova. They are fully aware that this may very well be their last trip together, at least while Tusker is of his right mind, and he’s terrified of losing sight of himself and becoming somebody else. Meanwhile, Sam is doubtful of his ability to look after him but determined to do whatever he needs. Both clearly know an unspoken truth that they’re hesitant to admit to themselves or each other, and those worries manifest themselves in several touching moments, particularly during a heart-breaking toast at a family dinner.
It’s not perfect, by any means. It’s a tad conventional and the script occasionally comes across a little clunky and on-the-nose, but it doesn’t really matter. Sam and Tucker are so likeable and authentic that the film comfortably succeeds in its approach to loss and mortality.
Supernova isn’t doing anything necessarily knew, but it’s doing it well. It’s a sincere, gentle and charming look at the things we do for the ones we love, and the closing moments will break the hearts of even the most hard-nosed of viewers.
SUPERNOVA, starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci and directed by Harry Macqueen, will now be released in cinemas on Friday 20th November.
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