By Adam Ray Palmer
When the London Film Festival programme was announced, Harry Macqueen’s Supernova was a-top of my must-see list.
For a second feature film, Macqueen’s drama is a brilliant tour-de-force in the strength of love and adoration. Let’s get into it…
Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) have been together for twenty years with so many happy memories. Their blissful life is quickly shattered following Tusker’s diagnosis with early onset dementia. With the condition worsening, the pair decide to spend precious time together with loved ones as they travel across England in their cosy campervan. As their trip progresses, they are forced to confront the realisation of their heart-breaking situation. Passionate rifts arise as they start to contemplate what their future holds.
Harry Macqueen’s Supernova is an emotional and powerful look into the exploration of love in the face of tragedy. Its approach is very much that of a rollercoaster. The swift script lures you in to connect with Sam and Tusker’s loving relationship, before forcing you to sit alongside them in their impending heartbreak carriage as it goes through the corkscrews.
As days progress, Tusker’s condition worsens as he gets more and more aggressive with his way of life. The regression of his mental ability takes its toll but their love still prevails. Their joint passions of road tripping and astrology keeps their endearing love as young and fresh as possible. The sentimental, reminiscent moments the two share together add a certain charm to this movie. Harry Macqueen expertly shoots a love story, with sweet and tender scenes that are wrapped in layers of impending sorrow.
The casting of Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci is a decision of dreams. The way they interact in front of the camera is compelling. It’s so authentic and raw, it’s the most stripped-back performances I have seen from the two of them in years. Tucci’s defiant mindset is equally matched by Firth’s tormented blues. They bounce off each other in such beautifully scripted sequences, it’s hard to take your eyes off them. They get the most out of the short yet convincing dialogue, never wasting the treasurable screen time they’re given.
Supernova is never overly long, sparing us the unnecessary details and focusing on the highest of love highs, and the lowest of devastating lows. It’s an impressive second feature and one that will live long in my memory. Many people this day and age have had people in their lives suffer with this awful disease, and Macqueen’s poignant drama really captures both sides of the story.
The subtle thing that sticks in my brain with Supernova is the woodwind instruments and classical tones throughout. The scenes with the soft soundtrack mixed with the beautiful cinematography of the Lake District pop up throughout the film at the optimum times. As Stanley Tucci comments; “You’re not supposed to mourn someone who is still alive”, you’re met with a much-needed pause and a minute’s thinking of what would you do in this situation? How would you deal with the ones you love in this upsetting position? They’re very intelligent scenes and, alongside the astounding performances, it’s certainly where Supernova is a success are for me.
Cineroom’s rating: 4.5 stars
Supernova is released on in cinemas on 27th November 2020 – certificate 15