Despite its star power, 'Supernova' is an inoffensive disappointment


By Julius De La Rama, Third Year, Film & Television

A supernova is described as a powerful explosion of a dying massive star. Something that is simultaneously beautiful and melancholic, it is an act of rebirth and life anew amongst heavy devastation.

Despite having two highly talented stars (no pun intended) take the reins here, Harry Macqueen’s Supernova goes in the opposite route, deciding to be a muted, subdued and overall disappointing effort.

Set primarily in the beautiful Lake District, we watch as Sam and Tusker (Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, respectively) spend as much time together – reuniting with friends and family on their journey – as Tusker has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.

Beautiful scenes of the Lake District | Courtesy of IMDb

Despite two lead performances that are pretty great and a pleasant change of pace for both Firth and Tucci, there isn’t enough substance in Supernova for me to have any genuine attachment to any one thing that the film has to offer. Every act is driven by this force of inescapability and inevitability, and all things considered, Supernova finds peace in that. But it comes at the cost of an engaging story.

It re-treads the ideas of conventional romance dramas of the same ilk, follows a structure that is so neat that it doesn’t separate itself from its contemporaries and disappears among them.

There is a warmth to Supernova that is almost tangible; I was ever so close to feeling the gentle, quiet breeze of the Lake District, I nearly found myself getting lost in the wonderfully simple familiarity of the gathering of friends and family. Unfortunately, there just was not enough depth to anything or anyone for me to fully immerse myself in the emotion of almost any scene. The interactions do, on the other hand, feel genuine. There’s a scene around the midpoint of the film in which Sam and Tusker have to occupy a single bed. Their chemistry is wonderful and the simplicity of this scene worked effectively. It’s the only scene I can still clearly remember; intimacy and humour going hand-in-hand allowing these characters to be much more than their limitations.

Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth in Supernova (2020) | Courtesy of IMDb

That’s where I found myself most frustrated with Supernova. The film doesn’t exist anywhere outside its melancholia. An extra twenty or thirty minutes would not go amiss if it dedicated itself to fleshing out these characters more and not merely placing them in such a confined box. The performances are doing all the heavy lifting but that can only go so far when the rest of the film is providing very little.

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However, if you are looking for a lazy Sunday watch, I would still recommend Supernova. Your mileage may vary, but it is the type of British film that can easily tug on the heartstrings for those that have an affinity to Firth and Tucci; it is inoffensive and relatively easy to watch. I just left the film wanting much, much more.

Featured: IMDb

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