The Reel Review
Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth star in this tender tale about a middle-aged gay couple, a novelist and a musician, taking one final trip together across England in their RV, as one quickly deteriorates from dementia. During their journey, they reunite with family and friends in the Lake District of Cumbria to reminisce and say their goodbyes.
An incredible sense of sadness and looming loss lingers over this story from writer/director Harry Macqueen (Hinterland). While the story itself isn’t all that groundbreaking – there have been more compelling tales about dementia (Still Alice) in recent years – Tucci and Firth each give career best performances. They convey the magnitude and profound grief over their long term relationship coming to an end – not so much through the dialogue, but by what isn’t said – be it a touch, a glance or an embrace.
At times Macqueen’s slight, understated story, with its deliberately nuanced, slow pacing, fails to match their powerhouse performances. But it does strike the perfect tone, never veering into melodrama, as the couple’s tiny living space in the RV is juxtaposed against acclaimed cinematographer Dick Pope’s gorgeous shots of the vast, picturesque Lake District and Keaton Henson’s evocative score. The film’s message, about embracing mortality, is timeless, in a heartbreaking story about the limitations of time.
• Initially Colin Firth was cast to play the dementia sufferer Tusker and Stanley Tucci the caregiver Sam in Supernova, but after reading through the script, the two longtime friends recommended to writer/director Harry Macqueen that they swap roles. After a run-through of several scenes, Macqueen agreed.
• Supernova writer/director Harry Macqueen was an actor for many years prior to his directorial debut in 2016’s Hinterland, which he also wrote, produced, and starred in.
• World Pictures, Supernova’s Russian distributor, cut a gay sex scene due to concerns with Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, which prohibits LGBTQ+ visibility in venues accessible to minors. It also warned critics not to use “gay” in film reviews.