A review by Marie Cameron
Spurred on by a glowing review by David Iliffe of ABC Local Radio, I went to see the movie Supernova and am very glad that I did!
Supernova is about a gay couple, Sam and Tusker (played by Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci). Sam and Tusker have lived together for a number of years and are deeply in love, but Tusker has received a diagnosis of early onset dementia and his condition is worsening. They have decided to take a road trip through the lovely Lake District of England while it is still possible. The movie opens with them bickering as they drive along about whether to use the GPS to find their way (Tusker hates the woman’s voice) or a paper road map which Tusker struggles to follow.
The movie features magnificent acting from Firth and Tucci, who are onscreen for the whole movie, often by themselves and in closeup as the camera picks up changes of emotion through their facial expressions. Firth seems to be tackling darker and meatier roles as he grows older, with huge success (remember The Railwayman). There is also superb cinematography with great shots of the Lake District.
The theme of the movie is deep, mature love and how this affects the decisions individuals make in the face of unavoidable disaster, and the reaction of their loved ones. In the end, it matters not whether the couple is gay or straight – the quality of the love is what counts. Firth and Tucci really nail this – their loving relationship is totally believable. Their characters take quite different directions on how to cope with Tusker’s illness, and there are anguished arguments as the couple try to reach a point of agreement. Loving family and friends try to support them, but fail and at times are actually unhelpful. We see Sam go through all the classic stages of grieving – denial, anger, bargaining and finally acceptance. After all the angst, the movie ends peacefully.
This movie raises important questions for all of us when loved ones are facing a difficult or uncertain future. Should we try to take control, and promise to look after our loved one whatever may happen? Should we allow them to make a decision which will hurt us deeply, and should we express or hide the hurt and anguish we feel, given that what we say may place an extra load on their shoulders?
To what extent is a decision solely relevant to the person making it, given its potential effect on others, and to what extent should the decision-maker take this effect into account? Is it possible to reach a point of acceptance of a decision that you really struggle with, or is this a step too far? There are no right or wrong answers – it will always depend on the people involved working their way through these issues in a manner that they can find acceptable.
Supernova is highly recommended.
PS The movie ends with Colin Firth playing on the piano a lovely piece of classical music by Edward Elgar, Salut d’Amour. Is there anything this man can’t do?
Disclaimer: views represented in SOFiA articles are entirely the view of the respective authors and in no way represent an official SOFiA position. They are intended to stimulate thought, rather than present a final word on any topic.
Photo from Syn Podcasts