Review by Sean Boelman
Harry Macqueen’s romantic drama Supernova may not be the most original in terms of story, but it does its job in terms of maximizing its emotional effect. Subtly gorgeous and featuring two of the finest performances of the year, this is a soul-crushing yet empathetic story in all the best ways.
The film follows two partners going on a cross-country road trip to relive their past since one of them has been diagnosed with dementia and their condition is deteriorating rapidly. And though it starts out as a road movie, by the end, it becomes a profound and expectedly moving character drama.
Unlike a majority of prestige dramas, the movie clocks in at a little over ninety minutes, so there isn’t a whole lot of room to be wasted. Although the ending is a bit abrupt, the pacing of the rest of the film is quite effective. The first two-thirds are relatively buoyant, only for the final thirty minutes to pack a huge wallop.
There are definitely quite a few layers to this movie. The first, and most obvious, explores what it means to lose oneself. However, another emotional layer is added through its commentary on love, and yet another is introduced towards the end, which is the thing that pushes it from being sad to being outright devastating.
Perhaps the strongest thing about Macqueen’s script is that it does a great job of establishing the dynamic between the characters. It’s really refreshing to see a movie about an LGBTQ romance that isn’t about self-loathing or homophobia. It’s about as lovely a depiction of love as they come.
Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci both give exceptional and humanistic performances. Tucci particularly stands out thanks to the very subdued way in which he portrays his character’s deterioration and disillusionment with the world. That said, the chemistry between the two is brilliant and goes a long way in selling the romantic aspect.
Visually, the film is pretty amazing. For the most part, it’s a quiet movie, but the low-key cinematography gives it a restrained beauty. As the title suggests, there is a celestial angle to the film, and the stargazing shots are absolutely wonderful. It could have worked being more simple, but it’s even better in this beautiful, poetic form.
Even though Supernova may not be a groundbreaking movie, it’s mind-blowing in the level of empathy with which it treats its characters and story. Even though it’s probably a bit too low-key to make much of a splash, it’s better than a lot of the movies getting awards buzz right now.
Supernova hits theaters on January 29 and VOD on February 16.