“Supernova,” a new relationship drama starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci and now available on VOD, is a touching look at memory, the memories that make up a life and what happens when those memories start to fade.
Longtime couple Sam (Firth) and Tusker (Tucci), a formerly famous classical pianist and well-known author respectively, are on a RV trip through the bucolic north of England. It is no ordinary vacation, however. Sam has a rare gig near the end of the planned trip and says, “He’s practically frog-marching me to it. Let’s see if I’m still any good.” But really, for the sixty-something partners, it’s a farewell to the life they’ve known as they transition to the gradual, but steady onset of Tusker’s dementia.
Tusker, convinced that the pills he’s taking aren’t helping, leaves his medication behind in solemn acceptance of what is to come. “There will come a time when I will forget who is doing the forgetting,” he writes. Sam, who put his career on hold for Tusker, isn’t ready to let go of the man who shares his life and occupies his happiest memories. “Where do you think we’ll be in six months?“ Tusker asks Sam. “Together,” Sam quickly replies.
“Supernova” is an unhurried love story, beautifully acted, about memory and control over one’s life.
Tusker has plans for a graceful exit while Sam is convinced love will triumph over whatever comes next. “I want to see this through to the end,” he says. “It’s all I have left.”
Sam grapples with their future in the film’s most heart-rending set-piece. Over dinner the two finally stop talking around the subject of the future and discuss their feelings, raw and unfiltered. Sam struggles with the thought of being alone, Tusker with the loss of control he feels as his memory slips away. “I want to be remembered for who I was,” he says, “and not for who I am about to become. That is the only thing I can control.”
What comes before this scene is warm, occasionally funny, always affecting but the true power of the story is revealed when the guards come down and Sam and Tusker get honest with one another about the reality of the situation. Firth and Tucci bring a lived-in realism to the scene that, in quiet, subtle ways, lays bare the feelings of grief both are experiencing.
Firth, whose icy, stiff-upper-lip performances have not always revealed a deep well of emotion, allows for heartfelt melancholy here in a delicate film that positively drips with compassion and respect.