'Supernova' Review: Love & Letting Go With Stanley Tucci & Colin Firth
Stars are out for Supernova, an emotional drama about letting go, loving and losing, in which Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth star as Tusker and Sam, respectively. Penned and directed by Harry Macqueen in his sophomore turn, the film is essentially a weeklong-or-so road trip in a RV with the above-mentioned couple as they are making their way through pastoral English countryside to a destination where Sam is set to play a concert (he's a classical pianist). They also visit Sam's family and the couple's friends along the way which might be sort of a farewell as it turns out that Tusker has been diagnosed with early dementia, which is developing rapidly. At the same time, it's a chance for Sam and Tusker to create their last memories together, even if only for one of them.
Supernova is pretty much built and designed to be an acting parade and without great portrayals, much of it would be rather agonising to watch. Fortunately it turns out to be an acting parade where Tucci and Firth not only shine on their own but also lift each other up since they don't try to go bigger whenever there's a chance.
There is specifically one stand out scene where Tusker has written a speech (he's also an author so you'll know it's good) to read to the friends and family. He has lost his ability to read so Sam takes over instead, the letter being much about Tusker's gratitude for everyone and mostly for Sam. It's a scene where Firth gets to excel with wonderful dialogue while Tucci manages to be both heartbreaking and heartwarming, just with subtle glances, loving smiles and a small amount of fear in his eyes. This also works as a nice contrast to earlier scenes where Tusker is the more jovial one and Sam is a bit less open.
The dialogue is wonderful also beyond just that one scene, it's really the most impressive element that Macqueen has created for his movie. Even if it tends to get poetic at times, you still can look past it since the characters are creative in their line of work and because it all flows so naturally, creating a nice cushion for the lead actors. You feel that these two have known each other and been together for years just because it is that natural, there is also the right amount of smart humour in the mix (Tusker is very witty) along with some tougher conversations as we start to get ready to say goodbye mainly to Tusker, and to Sam too. There really isn't anything dragging the film down during its quick 90-minute runtime - its photography, music, set decoration, editing and other parts are serviceable but it could've used something exceptional in one of them to push it from very good to excellent.
Smileys: Acting, dialogue
Frowneys: Nothing too bad
If you're hesitant about seeing a movie dealing with dementia, don't worry, there's a dog to balance things out.