By Mr. Will Wong
Actor/Writer/Director Harry Macqueen‘s SUPERNOVA is humble in its ambitions, but is propelled by the power of phenomenal performances from its two leads.
The Film centers on a longtime couple Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) who are coping with the latter’s early-onset Dementia. They travel through England together in an RV and while their bickering is not unlike any other couple that has been together a long duration, they are forced to face Tusker‘s mortality and his impending decline. And this is what Macqueen authentically explores how terminal illness impacts the body it inherits and those around it in how they react. And its most profound statements are how the process of grieving begins even while the ill are still here and what it means to live a dignified life.
Firth and Tucci deliver performances that feel really lived-in. Firth‘s Sam is trying his best to fight the clock and make Tusker‘s final days happier with things to take Tusker‘s mind off his dire reality. Tucci‘s Tusker comes at us understandably hardened by his fate and is set on preventing anyone, including Sam, see what he is about to become.
And while many same-sex love stories devote their time to the uphill battles a couple can face in avoiding judgment and stigma, Macqueen isn’t concerned with that. Sam and Tusker are long over that and are facing a different type of uphill battle on the daily that is universal. He bravely explores really intimate issues and scenarios for the couple whether it be what it is like in the bedroom when you are coping with illness, or something as seemingly harmless as a family member telling you they read something in the paper that might be “helpful”. We are taken a layer deeper in thought on why this might be futile or inappropriate even when it is well-intentioned.
The sensitivity with which Macqueen treats Sam and Tusker‘s love deserves to be seen and while it is an emotional story, it is told in a way that is affecting without relying on tears and miracles to reach our hearts.
Mongrel Media release SUPERNOVA Tuesday, February 16, 2021.