Supernova: The Depressing Road Trip Film You Didn’t Know You Needed

Grace Twomey ‘23 / Emertainment Monthly Co-President

Supernova is quite possibly the saddest, fastest escalating yet mundane film in quite a long time. The film stars Colin Firth as Sam and Stanley Tucci as Tusker, an old couple road tripping to a concert hall for a performance by Sam, who is a classical pianist.

It’s not long before the audience notices something is a little off. Tusker comes off a tad unlikeable in the beginning of the film, with snarky comments and a refusal to compromise. However, it’s quickly revealed he is suffering from dementia.

While a half hour’s worth of road trip content, followed by staying at Sam’s sister’s house, followed by a little more road trip content may not sound appealing, the film does a good job of injecting meaningful dialogue into not so meaningful situations. Tusker’s conversation with his niece where he explains to her how the stars make up her very being provides a touching connection between youth and old age as he does his best to impart his wisdom upon her.

As Tusker spent his life writing books, he struggles with the idea that he will be remembered not as what he was, but as who he will become as his dementia progresses. He pushes Sam away, knowing his own decline will make things hard for the both of them.

Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci in Supernova. Photo courtesy of IMDb.

The impact of Tusker’s health on Sam’s wellbeing is very well depicted. Sam struggles to watch the man he loves slowly lose his memory, and the audience watches along with him. While there are a few side conversations between Sam and other characters about how he is handling everything, it’s not until he opens up to Tusker that we truly hear his feelings. He is insistent that he is strong enough to make it through no matter how difficult it may be. However, as Tusker is certain he himself is not strong enough, Sam wonders if it is selfish of him to hope Tusker keeps fighting until the very last moment.

The soundtrack is an even mix of classical music and old hits, such as David Bowie’s “Heroes” and Donovan’s “Catch the Wind.” Everything about Supernova leaves the viewer wondering who exactly this film is for. One certainly has to be prepared for an extremely sad film handling a topic close to many people’s hearts as there are over 50 million dementia cases worldwide. However, you also have to be willing to watch a film with rather commonplace events and settings.

While the film quickly takes a shocking turn a little over halfway through, it can be equally as shocking to find that the movie has almost no resolution. The end is quite jarring and may leave some viewers wondering what exactly happened.

In conclusion, Supernova is a great film if you’re willing to strap in for a devastatingly sad, dementia-ridden road trip romance, and that’s a big if. Check out the film in select theaters now.

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