Supernova - stellar performances in a film of remarkable tenderness

Supernova (15), (93 mins), Cineworld Cinemas

Friday, 25th June 2021, 4:18 pm
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 4:20 pm

Just a couple of weeks after The Father comes another film about dementia, and with The Father so much the more striking of the two, inevitably Supernova is going to get overshadowed.

Which is a shame. It is a remarkable piece of work.

While the Father was devastating in its depiction of anger, cruelty and ultimately fear, Supernova is an equally intense exploration of the tenderest love – and the steeliest resolve.

There is astonishing courage in the performances of Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as Sam and Tusker, respectively a pianist whose career is on hold and a novelist whose life is disappearing before his eyes as young-onset dementia takes over.

Inevitably there is something valedictory simply in their setting out on a tour of places and people who meant a lot to them, bickering as they travel in their trusty old campervan.

But what is really going on is revealed only gradually, each tested to the limit by what inevitably awaits Tusker.

Tusker is intent on being remembered for who he was, not who he is about to become; determined not to be something he has never been in his own life: a passenger.

But Sam is determined not to let go, absolutely convinced he has got what it will take to cope with whatever lies ahead. Tusker is equally resolved that he won’t ever look at Sam and not know who he is.

The brilliance of the performances is that even as they clash – and they clash repeatedly – there is absolutely no doubting the depth of the love that binds them.

Where The Father shocks, Supernova goes for understatement – and is rewarded by stellar performances by two wonderful actors at the height of their powers. Tucci gives us Tusker’s strength in the direst adversity; Firth shows us that with the passing years he is becoming ever more interesting as an actor.

It is beautifully, tenderly, heart-breakingly done. Very very different to The Father. Much closer in fact to Still Alice. In fact, possibly a little too close. But still a superb film, very difficult to watch and yet utterly entrancing.