It’s been said that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, and such is the story of partners Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci). The two men are taking a road trip through the English countryside, visiting friends, family, and special places from their past. The two reminisce on their decades-old relationship, and things seem to be going well — until one day, Sam finds Tusker standing in the middle of traffic, confused about where he is.
Do not dismiss “Supernova” as just another movie about dementia, which seems to be the topic du jour of late. Writer / director Harry Macqueen‘s restrained tale of morality and love ascends to a different level of sadness and sophistication, with atmospheric melancholy flowing from his sparse (and effective) storytelling. This movie is sadness.
It’s revealed that Tusker was a writer and he can no longer practice his craft, while Sam is a pianist who has put his life on hold to seize what may be one of the last few opportunities to spend time with his love. The two wrestle with the dwindling sense of normalcy, and a devastating secret reveals that they have very different ideas for their future.
Firth and Tucci both turn out some of the best work of their respective careers. The chemistry between the two is a significant element of what makes this film tick. Their performances are extraordinarily moving, and it’s heartbreaking to watch as the emotional toll from a debilitating illness begins to take root. Tusker faces his worsening condition with humor and honesty, and will do everything to remain in control of his own destiny. Sam is willing to abandon everything about himself and his life just to take care of and spend one more second with his partner, and he’s having a difficult time facing the reality of his future. It’s an honest look at the practical versus emotional approach to what essentially is a death sentence.
Macqueen’s screenplay is filled with honest, raw writing and beautifully sad dialogue. There isn’t one thing in this film that isn’t believable, and that’s what makes “Supernova” so successful in portraying the reality of life, death, and love.