Thursday, January 28, 2021

Movie with Abe: Supernova

Directed by Harry Macqueen
Released January 29, 2021

Road trips are undertaken for a variety of reasons. In many cases, they originate from a need to get somewhere and the desire to do so either in a more economical manner or to see sights along the way. They do require time, and so those simply looking to get from a starting point to their destination may not actually get to take in the most beautiful views because they aren’t able to stray from the most direct path. Those with the luxury of a free schedule and the means to travel for pleasure can take advantage of tremendous opportunities, though remaining on the road forever to escape reality is hardly a sustainable plan.

Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) are traveling around England in an RV, visiting and reconnecting with old friends. The couple has been together for many years and is facing the most difficult part of their relationship, as Tusker’s dementia means that he experiences lapses in memory and can’t always recall important details about who they are to each other and basic elements of his life. Sam tries to push Tusker to continue writing so that he can preserve the elements of himself that he sees disappearing, while Tusker is more accepting of his fate and isn’t eager to push to do something he knows will be frustrating and painful.

Firth and Tucci are actors known for both dramatic and comedic work. This film’s premise puts them in a serious situation but allows them to exude plenty of snark and personality, especially when they make fun of themselves and each other in the company of others. Their dynamic and the banter they exchange is endearing, and their relationship feels lived-in and complicated, built on a foundation of equal participation that, due to Tusker’s loss of control over his mental state, can no longer be the case.

This is an inherently emotional film, one that finds its most poignant moments in the tapes that Sam and Tusker record together, which serve both as overviews of the greatest hits of their relationship and a check-in with where they are regarding Tusker’s memory and ability to function. It’s certainly poignant, but it feels like the story would have been stronger and more effusive with more time spent earlier on in their romance to show that which Sam is trying so desperately to recreate. Still, it manages to be a worthwhile and passionate film about the power of connection and the devastation of losing it.


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