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Senior Citizen Kane: Supernova

Harry Macqueen

Over the past decade, we have seen several British directors drawn to quietly devastating portraits of relationships at a crossroad – films like 45 Years, Le Weekend, and God's Own Country – all spring to mind. This kind of intimate storytelling requires a great script, a steady hand and above all, two performers at the very top of their game. Harry Macqueen's understated, and quietly devastating Supernova has all that and more.    

“Supernova’s power comes from the exceptional chemistry between its two leads…”

Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), have been together 20 years. As the film opens, the couple is driving through the Lake District in their old camper van en route to reconnecting with friends, family, and old haunts. But this is no ordinary holiday – the pair are still struggling to come to terms with Tusker’s diagnosis of early-onset dementia. Sam has placed his life on hold to act as his partner’s full-time caregiver, and the men’s time together has become especially sacred. This is the last opportunity to travel while Tusker is still able — but along the way secrets are revealed, plans unravel, and their bond undeniably is tested.

Macqueen spent years researching and speaking to those affected by early-onset dementia before writing the screenplay. Effective in its simplicity, the story speaks volumes not only about the impact of life-changing illness but about the strengths of love. Cinematographer Dick Pope’s images frame the performers beautifully. Supernova’s power comes from the exceptional chemistry between its two leads – Firth and Tucci have never been better.  

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