SUPERNOVA broke my heart
Providing an intimate look at a couple as one of them is facing an impending illness, Supernova destroyed me with its beautiful and moving performances.
In only his second feature length piece, Harry Macqueen has crafted a masterpiece of film. His direction is well-paced and sombre, yet heartfelt. Light hearted moments between the two men as they bicker over music on the road show us how much they truly love each other. Likewise, he doesn’t hold back, and within the first 15 minutes we see the tragedy that is slowly befalling this loving pair. When Sam realises Tusker has wandered away from the car, the quiet desperation and devastation when he finds him, lost on a country road, so starts the inevitable heartbreak that unfolds around the audience in the 1hr 33 runtime. Everything in the film is exquisite, each detail painstakingly chosen, and everything you would expect giving the calibre of those involved and the subject matter.
Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) are driving across England in their camper van visiting old moments from their past together. Struggling with dementia, Tusker is faced with his own mortality while Sam is faced with the prospect of a life alone. It’s a quietly moving film that is equal parts uplifting and devastating. A slow script that allows the performances to take centre stage, we follow the men and are invited into their world of love, laughter, and now loss. When a discovery is made during a surprise birthday party, the focus skews ever so slightly, but never loses its central focus – what is our purpose in the world, and how can we best show love to one another?
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Firth gives one of the performances of his career. He is aging like a fine scotch and his role in Supernova as Sam is no different. His tender love for Tusker is shown through every furrowed brow, every glance, every delicate kiss on the head. He is utterly heart-breaking to watch and does his best when he himself is watching, looking for the next sign of when his great love will disappear before his eyes.
Tucci brilliantly matches the performance, with a silent rage brewing. His love for Sam is clear and the pair elevate the film to its brilliance, but Tucci equally shows the desperation inside Tusker as he starts to realise the end is close. A dinner party scene where they share a toast to each other will have you reaching for the tissues as these powerhouse actors have created a relationship that feels so tender and real, you can’t help to grieve for it in real time. I will be beyond horrified if neither actor ends up on an award ballot this year, as even remembering these powerful performances has moved me to tears once more.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Filmed on location around the Lake District and in their old RV, the scenery is as beautiful as the love between the pair. There’s an old fashioned air to all the locations, and the knitwear is gorgeous. It feels warm and inviting but always with the warning that these long autumnal nights will soon be over.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The music and use of sound are equally stunning. Firth’s Sam is a concert pianist and many of his compositions accompany the film as score. It is often however in the lack of sound that we truly feel the emotion. In the aforementioned opening sequence when Tusker gets lost, Macqueen leaves the camera in the driver’s seat. Hearing only the internal car sounds as Sam reaches and consoles Tusker makes it feel all the more real, yet personal, that we are not privy to the dialogue.
Supernova broke my heart. I cried on at least three separate occasions whilst watching and was left sobbing long after the credits ended. Even revisiting the film to write this review had my eyes watering all over again. It’s one of my films of the year, and I hope to see these men get the praise they so deserve.