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  • Colin Fraser


FOUR AND A HALF STARS Tusker and Sam are on holiday. It may be the last one they share together.


Starring Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci

I defy you to watch a more heartfelt, more gut-wrenching, more honest love story than SUPERNOVA this year. With two powerhouse performances from Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as long-term partners Sam and Tusker, how could it go wrong? Well, it doesn’t.

The devoted couple are travelling around Britain in an RV with their dog. It transpires that this is something of a farewell tour; Tusker had been diagnosed with dementia a couple of years earlier and now is the time to visit loved ones before his illness overwhelms them. Tusker springs a surprise birthday party for Sam; friends and family gather to celebrate the past and present. And while Sam prepares himself to consolidate his role as husband and carer, Tusker intends their holiday will be a one way trip.

With apologies for the inevitable patronising tone, SUPERNOVA writer/director Harry McQueen shows a maturity far beyond his years. This portrait of a committed relationship is detailed and accurate, his characterisation of the grief, anger and loss that dementia inflicts is visceral, to say the least. His treatment of two older men caught in a turbulent, emotional wringer is heartbreakingly raw. It’s open, and tender.

Despite the heaviness of the narrative, McQueen delivers it with a surprisingly light touch that serves the intimate material well. Yet it is Firth and Tucci that bring the story home. They are remarkable yet there’s not a moment when they are anything but incredibly normal. No diva moments, no actor’s turns and no matter your age, gender or sexuality, they bridge every gap to let you feel their character’s plight at a deeply personal level. It’s a question of care. McQueen cares, Tucci and Firth care and their commitment pays off because in the end, so do you. A lot.

Take plenty of tissues, you will need them.



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