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Home > Categories > Movies > Drama > Supernova review

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Score: 6.5/10  [1 review]
2 out of 5
ProdID: 8794 - Supernova
Directed by Harry Macqueen

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Disclosure StatementFULL DISCLOSURE: A number of units of this product have, at some time, been provided to KIWIreviews by Madman (NZ) or their agents for the sole purposes of unbiased, independent reviews. No fee was requested, offered nor accepted by KIWIreviews or the reviewers themselves - these are genuine, unpaid consumer reviews.
in cinemas from February 21, 2021

Supernova product reviews

Sam (Academy Award winner Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) have spent twenty years together, and they are as passionately in love as they have ever been. However, in the two years since Tusker was diagnosed, their lives have had to change. As Tusker's condition has progressed, Sam has been forced to place his life on hold and become his partner's full-time carer, and their time together has become the most important aspect of their lives.

Together, they plan a road trip through England while Tusker is still able to travel, to reconnect with friends and family, and visit the places of their past. As their journey progresses, their individual ideas for their future begin to collide. Secrets are uncovered, private plans unravel and their love for each other is tested like never before.

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colin firth   dementia   lgbt   stanley tucci   supernova
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Click here to read the profile of alexmoulton

Review by: alexmoulton (Alex)
Dated: 28th of January, 2021

Link to this review Report this review


This Review: 6.5/10
Pay to see it again:
Score 5 out of 10
Attention Span:
Score 7 out of 10
Score 8 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 6 out of 10

One cannot help but have high expectations when you get two actors together of high acclaim and accolades. Colin Firth (Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award, and Screen Actor's Guild Award winner) and Stanley Tucci (Golden Globe Award, Primetime Emmy Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award winner) have a combined film career of over 70 years, and the move away from mainstream Hollywood films toward the more dramatic roles with an LBGT story is more than enough to pique one's interest.

And yet, Supernova falls short, lacking any content that will truly challenge the viewer. A superficial perspective that avoids exploring many of the hard questions.

The reality of the situation is that Firth and Tucci couldn't generate the chemistry or charisma necessary to genuinely convince the audience into thinking they were a long-term gay couple. Despite clear efforts to frame the two acting legends as a loving couple through a gentle hand touch, kissing, or nude spooning, the resulting scenes come across scripted and directed, cold, devoid of emotion. Not dissimilar to a barista smiling at an obnoxious customer, Supernova is full of scenes that are simply going through the motions; the right actions, but a complete lack of passion and emotion.

What makes matters worse, is the film's lack of development in the first act. Writer-Director Harry Macqueen chooses to begin Supernova by starting straight into the fateful road trip with two burnt-out lovers well past the prime of their lives, one of them in the grips of dementia. Yet, the audience is not privy to any comparison points. Musical reputations, writing careers, young passion, and overseas adventures are discussed but never seen. We never get to see the men in the throes of passion, We never see our characters living life to the full before dementia started. We don't even get to see the decline happening. Everything has already happened and is simply discussed between the two characters.

The decision to go against the traditional "show, don't tell" concept of visual cinema means all sense of character development (our entire view of these supposed three-dimensional characters) comes from some rather monotonous dialogue. It fails to build a suitable picture of what is lost, or what is still to be lost, which means there are no stakes for the audience to engage in, involving characters that lack the charisma to care about.

Considering the whole script revolves around dementia and our character succumbing to it, one would expect to see some really heartbreaking, anxiety-ridden scenes. And yet Macqueen skeletonizes the effects of the disease (if you can call it that) down to a dropped plate and memory loss. The potential to build intense harrowing scenes is there. Dementia can cause disorientation, memory loss, personality changes language problems, and poor spatial awareness, which when you are on a road trip travelling through a largely unknown area, can cause absolute havoc. But that is not what Supernova shows us. We are never shown the true face of dementia. The real frustration and fear as your memory fails you. It is almost beautified, walking arm in arm through the country, buttoning his shirt for him, saying a speech on his behalf, but it all hides the reality, and it reduces the impact of dementia.

Macqueen's inability to show dementia in real terms restricts the direction of the film considerably. It cuts down the likely directions for the film and turns every "subtle" hint at the likely ending of the film into a telegraphed slap in the face. Every moment that is meant to have a heavy impact, doesn't. The audience is able to figure out what will happen long before it happens, and the story becomes a trudge as you wait for the other characters to figure it out as well. Supernova wants to ask the difficult questions; about euthanasia, about whether dementia is worse for the sick person of the carer. Supernova wants to, but gets stuck on overused platitudes and thinly-veiled metaphors to show us anything worth investing in.

Without clearly establishing our characters before and after dementia, and by downplaying the effects of the disease themselves, Macqueen has left out the dramatic elements of his drama. Tucci and Firth do their best with what they are given, but the writing itself fails to provide a satisfying viewing experience. This is meant to be dementia. This is meant to be a person losing who they truly are. this is meant to be someone being robbed of their very essence. It is meant to hurt to watch it happen, but in the end, Supernova brings on feelings of apathy. It raises interesting questions that it is too afraid to answer, and that is a real shame.

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