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The Intimate, Quietly Moving ’Supernova’ Lets Its Stars Shine

 

The Intimate, Quietly Transferring ‘Supernova’ Lets Its Stars Shine

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Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) take one final journey in Harry Macqueen’s Supernova.

 

Bleecker Avenue

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Bleecker Avenue

 

Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) take one final journey in Harry Macqueen’s Supernova.

 

Bleecker Avenue

 

As you watch Supernova — author/director Harry Macqueen’s light-on-dialogue, heavy-on-emotion story of a homosexual couple coming to phrases with the truth that certainly one of them is experiencing early-onset dementia — you retain getting struck by the quantity of belief the movie locations in its two leads.

Which is smart, contemplating that the 2 leads in query are Colin Firth, as British live performance pianist Sam, and Stanley Tucci, as American novelist Tusker. The latter is the one who’s dropping himself, and who appears, of the 2 of them, way more sanguine about it.

In an early, wordless scene, Tusker wanders away from the RV during which the 2 are touring the British Lake District. A apprehensive Sam drives alongside a slim nation lane till he spots Tusker; as he will get out to retrieve him, Macqueen’s digital camera stays within the RV, searching on the two of them by way of the windshield. Sam approaches Tusker, and reassures a involved motorist that every thing’s tremendous. (Every little thing is just not tremendous). Tusker sees Sam and breaks down; they embrace.

A lesser movie would place us up with them, in the midst of that embrace, amid the tears and aid and whispered assurances. However Macqueen — an actor himself, and one, a truth which appears not inconsequential right here — is aware of we do not want it. Tucci and Firth can promote that second, in all its panicked intimacy, simply by way of the set of their shoulders and the way in which their our bodies hunch into each other.

Supernova is marked by that type of understanding restraint, that delineates the distinction between sentiment (true, earned emotion) and sentimentality (a budget, manipulative try to tug at our heartstrings). In scene after scene, as the 2 males go to family and friends one final time, we glimpse the showier, extra maudlin movie that Supernova may however by no means does devolve into, hovering simply on the edges. Solely in its closing moments, that are predicated by a dramatic battle of the type that tales like this one require, does the film turn into the “here is one for the Oscar reel” actorly showcase it is at all times threatened to be, however the monitor has been fastidiously laid, and its laborious to begrudge these two actors the possibility to dig in.

As Sam, Firth is directly soulful and circumspect, having buried his fears about his impending loss and his worries that he won’t be as much as the calls for of caregiving, in order to not fear his associate. We have seen Firth do the British stiff-upper-lip factor numerous occasions, and it is good to see him in a task that enables that lip to quiver a bit.

Tucci’s function is extra demanding, in that it so readily invitations massive, actorly decisions to register his situation. However he cannily underneathperforms Tusker as a person gifted with the emotional intelligence to disguise the true extent of his dementia, not less than for now. When he struggles for the suitable phrase, it is by no means overt — Tucci passes it off like a momentary glitch, nothing to fret about.

That Supernova is centered on the lives of two 60-year-old homosexual males is notable for a pair causes. One, sheer novelty: Tales about homosexual males of a sure age coping with non-AIDS-related mortality stay comparatively uncommon. Two, had the couple on the coronary heart of the story been a heterosexual one, the central stress — can one associate care for one more? — would have been weighed down with hoary notions about conventional gender roles. Specializing in a same-sex couple means preconceived, summary notions about masculinity and femininity may be distributed with, so we are able to focus as an alternative on the shifting energy dynamics between these two particular people.

Firth and Tucci are longtime mates in actual life, and so they have been initially slotted into the other function to the one they ended up taking part in within the movie. As soon as you have seen Supernova, that truth shall be laborious to wrap your head round, because the actors appear so well-suited to their respective characters. They seemingly would have confirmed simply as succesful at capturing the intimacy that Sam and Tusker share, nevertheless it’s laborious to think about that they’d have discovered the small, particular person grace notes they do right here — wordless moments that specific each an understated enjoyment of what they’ve, and the devastating information that it’s going to quickly be gone endlessly.

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Source: The Intimate, Quietly Moving ’Supernova’ Lets Its Stars Shine

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