director: Harry Macqueen (hinterland)

starring: Stanley tucci, colin firth, pippa haywood and james dreyfus


REVIEWER: lyall carter

A gay couple - one a musician, the other a novelist - embark on a road trip as dementia starts to take hold of one of them.

It’s been a long time since I can remember seeing a real actors movie - an intimate film whose compelling story is completely transcended and made better for the actors who magnificently occupy the main roles. Supernova is an intimate tale of love marred by suffering with masterful performances from Firth and Tucci. One of 2021’s best films.

Sam (Academy Award winner Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) have spent twenty years together, and they are as passionately in love as they have ever been. However, in the two years since Tusker was diagnosed, their lives have had to change. As Tusker’s condition has progressed, Sam has been forced to place his life on hold and become his partner’s full-time carer, and their time together has become the most important aspect of their lives.

Together, they plan a road trip through England while Tusker is still able to travel, to reconnect with friends and family and visit the places of their past. As their journey progresses, their individual ideas for their future begin to collide. Secrets are uncovered, private plans unravel and their love for each other is tested like never before.

The tale is a simple one really and one that has been not only present in films and television shows but has occupied the public square in New Zealand recently through the euthanasia referendum. Even if you sit on the other side of the debate, Supernova still is a devastatingly powerful film.

The narrative plays out the wondrous intricacies, flaws and beautiful mundanity of a loving, romantic relationship as Sam and Tusker are facing Tusker’s illness. The film wrestles with the vast complexities and nuances of what they’re facing fairly and manages to give both sides of the argument sufficient air time.   

Tucci and Firth are equally breathtakingly magnificent in this. You won’t see better performances than these in a long time and are worth a dozen ticket prices alone to see not one but two actors at the very height of their craft. Firth and Tucci inhabit their characters with such grace, simplicity and love that you completely believe that what you are watching is utterly true. 

Supernova is an intimate tale of love marred by suffering with masterful performances from Firth and Tucci. One of 2021’s best films.


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