Sam (Colin Firth), a music composer and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), an American writer relocated to England, have been partners for more than twenty years. When Tusker is diagnosed with precocious dementia, the two lovers decide to revisit the places and people of their love story aboard a specially bought camper. The road trip will be a chance for the two men to retrace their past and to definitively decide how to face a future together directed more and more inexorably towards tragedy. Supernova starts from this simple but interesting premise, a film expected by many and on whose shoulders a considerable weight has been loaded, especially given the caliber of the actors who were able to work on the project. Many works have been crushed and destroyed by the expectations of a spectator people who are nothing short of voracious, but fortunately this time we can breathe a sigh of relief, albeit not without some reservations.
The journey of memories
British actor and director Harry Macqueen (on his second film after 2017's Hinterland) with Supernova brings to the big screen a delicate story of disease and homosexual love with two purebred actors, which investigates the power of love in the face of adversity and on the dignity and fleetingness of life. It's hard to be one hundred percent objective when reviewing a movie about terminal illness, because you always find yourself at the same crossroads: either you refuse to give in to the emotional blackmail of these films, risking, however, that the refusal will turn into a non-objective critique of the story, or let yourself be carried away by sentimentality with the risk of not seeing beyond beyond repeated tragic topos and (for the most part) dishonest.
Of course, two caliber actors like these together give the film an extra boost, saving it in part both from a certain basic mediocrity and from the stamp of usually melodramatic and dull film that tries to extort a strong emotion from you at all costs. But the smell of Oscar-style film strategy is hard to ignore. The film, let's be clear, is not without praise: beyond the protagonist duo, composed of two actors rarely out of place in the projects in which they are requested, Macqueen chooses a wide-ranging register, made up of embarrassed looks, inexorable silences and some witty choice of screenplay, only to slip here and there into the usual and exacerbated clichés of the drama about illness.
Supernova wants to be the swan song of a great love story but, where the usual mistake in films of this genre is the haste to clarify situations and relationships at the cost of being excessively explanatory, here certain issues from the past of the two protagonists would have benefited from being explored more thoroughly, or at least it would have helped the heart of the story to discover the forms of their relationship beyond the shadow (redundant at times, but it is still a degenerative disease ...) of a painful future that hovers over their lives. It is difficult, we repeat, to be completely objective: on the one hand, the film screams a strategic find for the next award season, choosing to tell a story that combines elements so appreciated by awarding bodies such as the Academy, for example, but by the another is still a solid film, with a certain amount of creativity and a duo of protagonists at the helm that works particularly well even for their (very high) standards. What can we say then? Posterity will judge.