Dementia romance

New dementia movie Supernova burns brightly in the firmament

Written and directed by British filmmaker and former actor Harry Macqueen, Supernova is a ‘slow-burn’ movie that delves deeply into the age-old uncertainties of life, including loyalty, compassion and morality.
Featuring powerful performances by Colin Firth as Sam and Stanley Tucci as Tusker, the film portrays two middle-aged gay men navigating a highly turbulent period of their 20-plus year relationship.
Stalled novelist Tusker is not doing well, and his young-onset dementia is making itself felt more and more keenly with each passing day.
Tusker, however, is stubborn, and appears at first reluctant to give in to the disease.
His partner Sam is a highly talented English pianist preparing to give his final concert at the end of their driving holiday.
The movie opens gently with the two of them spending happy days touring through the rugged English countryside in a motorhome.
Both men are lovers of astronomy (hence the title), and the film is beautifully shot amid the breathtaking landscapes of the Lake District in north-western England.
As mentioned though, the movie has a much deeper message: that of a sensitive, intelligent man tormented by his steady and inexorable loss of memory, and this fact creates a pervading aura of sadness, despite the beautiful backdrops.
The darkness is inescapable, and together with the slow pace of the movie, may serve to test the patience of the audience at times.
However, staying with the film is worthwhile, and there are many lighter moments: such as when the two men – who are obviously still very much in love – bicker good-naturedly over the use of the Satnav in the motorhome.
There are also some poignant scenes, such as when Tusker, still refusing to give in to his dementia, insists to everyone at a family gathering that he is fine, and still quite capable of writing his novel.
However, one night while Tusker is attending a friend’s party, Sam comes across Tusker’s novel-writing notebook in the campervan and is dismayed to discover the deterioration in his partner’s handwriting.
In the notebook, it is obvious Tusker’s handwriting has degenerated significantly: from clear and legible script at the beginning of the notebook, to totally incoherent scribble and crossings-out at the end.
A moving account of the trials and tribulations of a same-sex couple experiencing dementia, Supernova is showing from Thursday April 15 at Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, Windsor Cinema, Luna Outdoor and Camelot Outdoor.

By Mike Peeters

Caption: Sam and Tusker, played by Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, in Supernova.

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