Anyone who has experience of a friend or relative suffering from dementia will know what an absolutely horrendous condition it is. It’s an illness which comes in all shapes and sizes but its impact is never less than devastating. Seeing someone you love gradually (or rapidly) fade away is traumatic. As scientific breakthroughs allow us to live longer, it’s becoming an increasingly pressing social issue. One which is being more frequently addressed by filmmakers. As it is, so poignantly, by Harry McQueen in his new film, Supernova.
Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) have spent a blissful twenty years together. However, Tusker’s diagnosis of early-onset dementia has shattered their happiness. Determined to spend as much time together as possible, the pair head off on a trip in their campervan across England, visiting friends and loved ones along the way and rekindling fond memories. However, as their journey progresses, they have to face up to hard truths.
Supernova is a thoughtful and delicate film which follows two lovers as they try and postpone facing up to the inevitable. It’s a beautifully handled drama. McQueen keeps a steady hand on the reins, skilfully maintaining a balance throughout. However, it’s Firth and Tucci which make it so compelling. There’s such gentleness and warmth in their performances. Supernova is powerful and empathetic filmmaking. A story about confronting the most difficult questions and coming out the other side.
Supernova screens at London Film Festival.