DIRECTED BY: Harry Mcqueen
STARRING: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci, James Dreyfus, Pippa Heywood and Sarah Woodward
The film focuses on Sam annd Tusker, who have been partners for twenty years, as they travel across England in their old campervan, visiting friends, family and places from their past. Tusker was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago, putting their jobs and future plans on hold, as their time together is now the most important thing they have. As the trip progresses however, their individual ideas for their future begin to collide.
Written and directed by Harry Mcqueen, this is his sophomore feature that focuses on the relationship between novelist Sam and and pianist Tusker, who have been together for decades. However their lives and jobs have been put on hold for the last two years when Tusker was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Now in an attempt to restart their lives, they are road tripping across the English countryside in their camper van, visiting old locations of their past as well as reuniting with family and friends for a get together.
Their road trip has a sombre feeling to it as we follow the couple on their journey, as they knowingly come to terms with this trip may be the last while Tusker is still himself…for the most part. What makes the film really work however is the chemistry between Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth. The pair appear on screen together for most of the films hour and thirty-three minute runtime, rapport is marvellous to watch. Tusker is the outgoing, life of the party individual from the relationship, while Sam is more reserved and while they compliment their differences to work, when it comes to how they feel about handling Tusker’s deteriorating state in the near-future is where the different outlooks on life will come out between them. There’s a lot of material that the duo could easily turn in an showman-like performance to make it more melodramatic, but they both give restrained and tender performances that it makes the scenes all the more effective when one of their voices begin to break as they argue about their future. Tucci and Firth gives distinguished performances here and a case could be made that it could be one of, if not their best performances to date.
There’s some great cinematography work here by Dick Pope and how he captures the English countryside, with my personal favourite, quiet moment in the film being Tusker and Sam getting out of the camper van and looking out at the lake. Mcqueen’s direction is very good here also, particularly in the scenes of which Sam discovers how severe Tusker’s mind is starting to fail him. The only things going against the film is that viewers might find it pretty predictable and that it doesn’t really say anything new about dementia that hasn’t been captured already on film.
While we’ve seen similar films like it, that doesn’t make Supernova less effective or impactful on its portrayal of love and power of memories. The tender performances and chemistry between Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth make for an emotionally charged final act that is very effective.