Starring: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci, Pippa Haywood
Director: Harry Macqueen
Running Time: 93 mins
Supernova is a British film about Sam and Tusker, a long-term couple, who take a trip into the Scottish Highlands as Tusker begins to suffer from debilitating dementia.
This is a film with a lot of promise, from its story to its cast and setting, but it’s also one that just doesn’t follow through on it all. Despite a heartwarming and often soaringly beautiful opening half, Supernova unfortunately finds itself back in the dumps later on, with a disappointingly sappy conclusion to an otherwise lovely film.
Let’s start with the positives, the biggest of which comes in the form of the chemistry between Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci. In fact, ‘chemistry’ doesn’t really cut it, as their on screen partnership is so tight that you fully feel the power of their love.
The whole ‘undying power of love’ thing may sound cheesy, but this is one of the few films that really brings that theme home in an emotionally captivating way, as we see Firth and Tucci’s characters experiencing life, with their togetherness making everything better for one another.
The entire first half uses the power of that underlying theme to wonderful effect, as the film turns a simple road trip into a soaring swansong, with the pair seeking to bring the best out of one another before time gets the better of them.
The second half of the film, however, is where time does begin to get the better of them, as we see Tucci’s dementia become all the more debilitating, turning their once-glorious trip into an ever greater challenge.
It’s a sobering and above all realistic portrayal of the challenges of dealing with dementia, but it doesn’t work much for the benefit of the film as a whole, which almost stops still about halfway through.
I don’t wish to comment on what should and shouldn’t be included in a story about dementia, but I felt that the film lost a lot of its charm, depth and emotional power as it moved into an almost stationary run to the finish.
The often glib nature of the partners’ fate is again an uncompromising depiction of the challenges they face, but the film loses all pace and emotion as that final act drags on for far too long, even undermining the effect of the central ‘power of love’ themes.
Overall, Supernova is far from a poor film, but it strikes me as a movie with a whole lot of unused potential. Starting off in glorious fashion, the film misses the opportunity to make something truly beautiful, squandering the genuinely gorgeous emotional depth built up early on as it drags to the finish with an instantly unfortunately underwhelming conclusion. So, that’s why I’m giving the film a 7.1.