Home » ‘Supernova’ Review – A Simple Yet Tender Love Story | London Film Festival 2020

‘Supernova’ Review – A Simple Yet Tender Love Story | London Film Festival 2020

by Ben Rolph

Supernova tells a familiar love story about a couple struggling with the winding path of one man’s dementia. However, it’s not archetypal, there is no dramatic flamboyance or over-the-top extravaganza to Harry MacQueen’s tender film. Entirely restrained and carefully controlled, it’s a rather beautiful piece of cinema that is all the better for its soft and discreet approach. Gentle, sweet performances from Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci lead MacQueen’s perfectly nimble venture.

Although similar stories have been told plotwise, the completely restrained nature and touch here is quite new. Supernova is worthy of attention and although it might not reduce everyone to tears, its heartfelt telling will most definitely touch everyone who endures the wait until the film’s November release date.

Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci in ‘Supernova’ courtesy of BFI

We follow Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), a middle-aged couple who take one final road trip up north. Tusker struggles with dementia and his illness has become progressively worse. Sam is a musician, Tusker is a writer and upon writing his latest book, Tusker is stumped on where to go next. Night by night, stop by stop, the two gaze up to the pollution-less night skies of England’s northern mountain range. Staring into the vast emptiness of space, lost in its beauty and mesmerized by the stars, it seems Tusker is all but not in a healthy mindset to write. The two must overcome the hardships of reality and accept what lies ahead.

What’s most pleasing about Supernova is it’s execution. Stylishness in cinema is definitely alluring, but restraint can be nearly as compelling if made up to high standards. Such is Harry MacQueen’s quiet and reflective film, it allows Firth and Tucci to lead the way. One will find themselves in admiration of the refined splendor of Supernova. Photographed by Dick Pope, Mike Leigh’s frequent cinematographer who also shot last year’s swoon-worthy noir, Motherless Brooklyn. Almost instantly, one can tell that they’re in the hands of a seasoned and artfully skilled professional.

Supernova is a tender and effective film, led by two remarkable performances and made with a flair for the restrained. Powerful, moving and well-made, this film is well worth your time.


Supernova was selected to play at the 2020 BFI London Film Festival!

Follow Senior Film Critic Ben Rolph on Twitter: @THEDCTVSHOW

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