Review: Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci shine in moving 'Supernova'
Courtesy of Bleecker Street
Both veterans to their craft and equipped with a wealth of accolades including one Oscar, Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci glisten as a couple forced to confront a dark reality in writer/director Harry Macqueen’s intimate and timeless “Supernova.” An old fashion romance about rekindling love, Firth and Tucci drive this two-hander drama into unexpectedly heartwarming places. They play Sam and Tusker, a devoted duo who have been married for decades. The former, a renowned pianist gearing up for a comeback and the latter a novelist looking for inspiration, except their careers are put on hold due to Tusker’s diagnosis of early-onset dementia.
They have decided to take an extended holiday, road tripping in their camper van across the country, visiting with relatives, rediscovering bonds, and forgetting about Tuskar’s inevitable endgame. He’s got notes and occasionally works on his forthcoming novel, but Tuskar is more interested in his telescope and looking at constellations while teaching Sam about the Milky Way. The vastness in space with which Tuskar seems to align his current predicament is a beautiful motif that Macqueen plays with, despite its syrupy display becoming a bit ham fisted.
Nevertheless, “Supernova” is a calm and serene character portrait of two men with undivided affection for each other, and the type of prestige drama only reserved for streamers these days. But when you have Firth and Tucci as your anchors, it’s hard to resist and their infections, quiet, chemistry helps audiences understand how special this relationship is.
Macqueen builds a solid foundation for the two characters‘ contrasting personalities: Sam reads as a somber fellow who doesn’t appreciate his own talents (when pressed about the upcoming piano gig, he tells people to lower their expectations when in reality he’s a genius) and Tuskar isn’t afraid to ask questions or go for the easy laugh. My favorite scene in “Supernova” - and one that best exemplifies the central relationship - is when the two sleep in Sam’s childhood twin bed. Considering their grown adults, this proves problematic; Tuskar knows this, but his quality of life is running short and creating lasting memories is all that matters.
But that’s where “Supernova” will hit audiences in the gut. As is the case with most films about dementia, the ending isn’t a happy one. Or maybe it is, depending on your own outlook and Macqueen handles it with tranquility. Confronting these issues is never easy, and it can put viewers in an emotional chokehold, yet “Supernova” reinforces that to love someone, you must let them go, carry the torch, and embrace their decisions.
SUPERNOVA will be released in theaters Friday, January 29th and then digitally February 16th.
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