Director Harry Macqueen’s second feature explores the well-trodden theme of terminal illness through the eyes of two people in a relationship. While Supernova certainly has little originality in regards to the subject matter, it’s the two leads that really lift this film out of potential mundanity. Here, Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth are truly at the peak of their game, delivering such sweet and poignant performances you feel as though you already know them as a couple.

Tucci’s Tusker is stubborn and dark-humoured, constantly delivering jibes to Firth’s Sam in a way that only a long-term partner can get away with. Sam is quieter, burdened with the unthinkable task of having to care for his dying lover. The pair embark on a road trip to see family and friends around the Lake District as Tusker’s early-onset dementia grows steadily worse. At times comparable to the long-term romance in Ira Sachs’ Love is Strange, and at others more akin to the sweet-natured bickering of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in The Trip, the subject matter may be dark but it’s far from bleak. Good humour and, most importantly, love, course through Supernova.

Macqueen allows Tucci and Firth huge amounts of space to breathe and just be; at times this is more like watching a two-man play rather than a film. During a particularly crucial scene that is heavy in dialogue and intense conversation, you could hear a pin drop during their moments of silence. Their performances are tender and subtle, and even when the script may lapse into slightly tired cliches, they manage to still make it all very believable.

Truly heartbreaking and overwhelmingly sweet, Supernova manages to avoid mediocrity thanks to career-best performances from Tucci and Firth, and a very delicate and understated touch from Macqueen.

RATING: 4/5


INFORMATION

CAST: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci, Lori Campbell

DIRECTOR: Harry Macqueen

WRITER: Harry Macqueen

SYNOPSIS: Sam and Tusker are traveling across England in their old RV to visit friends, family and places from their past. Since Tusker was diagnosed with dementia two years ago, their time together is the most important thing they have.