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Supernova (15)

Cast: James Dreyfus, Colin Firth, Ian Drysdale, Stanley Tucci
Genre: Drama
Author(s): Harry Macqueen
Director: Harry Macqueen
Release Date: 25/06/2021
Running Time: 93mins
Country: UK
Year: 2020

Sam and his partner of 20 years, Tusker, have savoured every second together. Those moments feel even more precious when Tusker learns he has early onset dementia and will slowly lose grasp on fond memories of the past. Determined to cherish the time they still have, Sam and Tusker travel across England in their old campervan, reuniting with family and friends. They revisit important places from their relationship, testing the bonds of their love.

LondonNet Film Review
suprenova (15)

Taking its title from the blindingly bright explosion of a dying star, writer-director Harry Macqueen’s heart-breaking drama about living with dementia is unfortunately timed to twinkle shortly after The Father deservedly cast a spell at this year’s Oscars. Supernova exists in the same narrative universe, juxtaposing the fear and confusion of a patient with the anguish of caring family members, but this gently paced road movie takes a more conventional approach to storytelling. “I want to be remembered for who I was and not who I’m about to become,” pleads Stanley Tucci’s afflicted writer to his life partner, played with frayed nerves and a shattered heart by Colin Firth…

Their on-screen familiarity is delightfully believable from the opening shot of the couple entwined in bed, whether it be playful teasing about the shipping forecast on BBC Radio 4 or a more serious conversation about forgotten medicines. “They remind me that I’m ill and I don’t want that, not right now,” contends Tucci’s wordsmith, who claims to be writing a final book while he still feels some semblance of control over his creativity. The natural flow and ease of these early scenes contrasts with a fraught, tear-wringing final act overstuffed with dialogue which hits premeditated beats at the expense of sounding like a true cascade of emotions.

Out-of-practice concert pianist Sam (Firth) and his partner, American novelist Tusker (Tucci), have savoured every second together on this side of the Atlantic. When Tusker is diagnosed with early onset dementia, the couple jump into a motorhome with their dog Ruby and embark on a ramshackle road trip to visit family, friends and important places from their relationship. They initially squabble over the use of a satnav with a female voice that sounds discouragingly similar to Margaret Thatcher. “First it’s Section 28, now she’s going to tell us where to go on our holiday?” quips Tusker, referring to a controversial 1988 clause (since repealed) to prohibit local authorities from promoting homosexuality.

After a worrying moment when Tusker walks off in a daze, the two men arrive safely at the home of Sam’s sister Lilly (Pippa Haywood), her husband Clive (Peter MacQueen) and their daughter Charlotte (Nina Marlin). A surprise party seemingly lifts Tusker’s spirits but a candid conversation with Lilly exposes his deep-rooted fears. “You’re still the guy (Sam) fell in love with,” she soothingly contends. “No, I’m not,” laments Tusker, “I just look like him.”

Supernova burns bright thanks to Firth and Tucci’s heartfelt performances, which lace their characters’ love story with palpable sorrow. One uninterrupted close-up of Firth disgorging feelings as tears sporadically course down his cheeks is particularly memorable. Cinematographer Dick Pope works tirelessly to capture the beauty of the central relationship and Lake Distinct scenery in dwindling light to give a sense of the darkness closing in.

– Kim Hu

London Cinemas Showing Supernova

From: Friday 30th July
To: Thursday 5th August

JW3 Cinema

Sun 20:00; Mon 18:00; Tue 21:00; Wed 17:20; Thu 20:30

Picturehouse Central

Mon-Thu 14:30 18:40 (Mon/Wed/Thu)

Vue Finchley Road (O2 Centre)

Fri 23:15; Mon 10:05

Vue Shepherd’s Bush

Sun 11:45; Mon 10:15; Wed 12:25; Thu 12:15

Vue West End

Fri 10:10; Sat/Sun/Tue/Thu 10:00

Vue Westfield London

Sun 10:00; Mon 22:45

Vue Westfield Stratford City

Fri 23:45; Sun 11:55

From: Friday 6th August
To: Thursday 12th August

No cinema infomation at the moment

UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Supernova

From: Friday 30th July
To: Thursday 5th August

Radway Cinema

Fri/Sun/Mon/Wed/Thu 20:00; Sat 20:35

Vue Edinburgh Omni Centre

Sun 10:05; Tue 11:35

Vue Hamilton

Fri 10:00; Mon 10:05

Vue Leeds The Light

Fri 23:35; Sat 11:45

Vue Manchester Printworks

Fri/Sat 23:30; Sun 22:35; Mon 18:00; Tue 10:10; Wed 14:15; Thu 22:00

From: Friday 6th August
To: Thursday 12th August

No cinema infomation at the moment