Supernova – Review

Rating: 15
Cast: Stanley Tucci, Colin Firth, Pippa Haywood and Peter Macqueen
Written and Directed by Harry Macqueen
Length: 94mins

The story of an aging couple facing the challenges brought on by a cruel disease, ‘Supernova’ has graced the cinema screen quietly, but with warmth and a lot of heart. Led by established performers Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth, it provides a look at humanity in a way you can’t help but empathise with.

Although ‘Supernova’ may not burn as brightly as its titular dying star, Stanley Tucci fills the role of a different kind of dying star with tenderness and precision, in a performance that some might describe as career defining. A small scale story when compared to his previous work, ‘Supernova’ strips back the complexity of expansive casts and extreme dramatics, focussing instead on the deep connection experienced by the films lead characters as they navigate the heartbreakingly difficult process which has come from Tusker’s deteriorating mental state, in a role brilliantly played by Tucci. His approach to such a character can be described as both nothing more and nothing less than human, interacting with loved ones in a manner that seems fitting more for real life than the big screen. As a result, the relationship established both between Tusker and his partner Sam, as well as Tusker and the audience feels completely genuine, as if we are simply distant onlookers in each scene rather than a collective audience searching for a clear story and resolution. His matter-of-fact approach to the unavoidable consequence which he faces is something which any audience will be able to relate to, as Tusker puts on a brave face for the benefit of those around him, only hinting at the type of pain he’s experiencing, rather than showing it in detail – another reason why ‘Supernova’ deserves its praise as human and touching. 

Sharing the current cinema bill with ‘The Father’, another film which excellently dissects the experiences of an older man suffering from dementia-like symptoms, ‘Supernova’ may not receive as much acclaim, but it sets out to tell its story in a very different manner. The film draws you into its ninety minute character study and works to emphasise the excellent performances from Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth throughout, rather than looking to push the boundaries of what filmmaking can be. It’s cinematography, editing and score all benefit the film, but ultimately they’re the distant harmonies which exclusively work to strengthen the leading melody supplied by Tucci and Firth. It may not be a film for the history books, but when the audience are settled in their cinema seats, it’s effect throughout its runtime is undeniably powerful, drawing you into a portrait of two men’s lives who enjoy the same simple pleasures as ourselves, and who are just looking to make the best they can out of a bad situation.

Although it’s subject matter may be heavier than most films showing at the minute, there is so much to be enjoyed within ‘Supernova’. The moments of heartbreak and loss are counterbalanced by the simple pleasures shared between its characters, from looking up at the stars with childlike wonder, to making new memories with the person you care for most in the world. It’s definitely a film to bring some tissues along to, but also one that shouldn’t be missed.

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