SUPERNOVA – A Review by Gadi Elkon

SUPERNOVA is a woeful road trip film from Writer Director Harry Macqueen.  The movie is a showcase piece for Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci who play an aged couple battling time and each other’s emotional states.  Here is my full review of the Bleeker Street production.

Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), partners of twenty years, are travelling across England in their old campervan visiting friends, family and places from their past. Following a life-changing diagnosis, their time together has become more important than ever until secret plans test their love like never before.

Macqueen is an actor turned writer/director whose previous work Hinterland was also a moving road trip film.  The story revolves around Tusker’s early onset dementia.  He is a somewhat renowned writer while Sam is a talented concert piano player.  The trip to the lovely English Lake District was a way for Sam to help Tusker rekindle his writing while also celebrating their decades long love.  As we travel along with the duo we slowly become knowledgeable to Tusker’s dementia being much more impacting.  Culminating with a secret birthday party for Sam at his childhood home where his sister now resides.  Sam becomes aware of Tusker’s true final intentions and the couple is left trying to figure out the pain of their losing battle.

In Harry Macqueen’s director’s statement he explains the title with, “A Supernova is the massive explosive event at the end of the evolution of a star”.  This obviously mirror’s Sam’s discovery of Tusker’s final wishes.

Macqueen took years working with the UK’s leading specialists and in particular Dr. Sebastian Crutch on the realities of dementia.  He interviewed and got to know many affected loved ones.  His own loss of a close friend, whose life was completely turned upside down by the harsh reality of dementia, was the inspiration to write.  Stanley Tucci was originally connected and his long friendship with Colin Firth, along with some of the producers’ connections brought about this terrific duo.  The actors totally embrace their characters and perfectly progress through the story’s emotional rollercoaster.  Stanley Tucci’s subtle loss of his faculties holds a strong resonance.  Colin Firth’s eventual emotional breakdown is the film’s most impactful moment.  The Academy-Award-winning actor has a series of grieving scenes that highlight the honest take on losing a battle bound in early closure.

The other revelation in the film is the beautiful cinematic showcase by DP Dick Pope.  The veteran cinematographer shows the vast appeal of the English countryside while still capturing this couple’s immense intimacy.  Whether displaying the rolling greenery or being stuck in the claustrophobic van this is just another masterwork by Pope.

The film sweetly closes with Colin Firth’s poetic playing of “Salut De Amour”.  The film is a heartsore trip that should touch so many audiences with the truthful story and tremendous acting showcase.


Director: Harry MacQueen

Written by: Harry Macqueen

Rated: R

Selig Rating: 3.5 Stars

Running Time: 1hr 33min

Drama, Romance

Limited Release: January 29th Theatrical and February 16th Video On Demand

Starring: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci, and Pippa Haywood.


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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