Socialist Worker

Heartbreaking road movie where time is the enemy film

Issue No. 2760

Supernova shows the tragic dilemma of caring for a patient who wont get better

Supernova shows the tragic dilemma of caring for a patient who won't get better


How to say goodbye to your loved one after you’ve discovered your mind is to be ravaged by early onset dementia?

Do you rage against the dying of the light or stoically accept your plight?

Can the solution of assisted suicide be anything but a devastating impact on family and loved ones or is this an altruistic move that is the only rational solution for all concerned?

In Supernova Colin Firth (Sam) and Stanley Tucci (Tusker) play gay lovers in a long term relationship.

Together they embark upon a final road trip in a camper van that meanders through the autumnal beauty and melancholic shadows of the Lake District.

Stanley who suffers from early onset dementia is a novelist who intends to make a dignified and secret exit.

He is the more humorous and sarcastic of the pairing, making a nice barbed comment about Thatcher, the Sat Nav voice and Section 28.

But the politics stops there, this is meant to be a final wave goodbye to Tusker’s world.

Sam is a concert pianist making a comeback, on his way to play a recital at the journey’s end.

Firth’s performance is finely modulated as the empathetic partner who is struggling to make sense and cope with the heartbreaking scenario.

The effects of Tusker’s dementia gradually come to the surface.

Sam finding his once ebullient partner lost and disconsolate on a country lane, unable to perform the small function of putting on his shirt, the birthday speech he can’t deliver, the novel he can’t finish.

Supernova brings home Sam’s tragic dilemma of caring for a partner who’s running out of time.

As Tusker quips, “You’re not supposed to mourn someone while they’re still alive”.

Stephen Philip

Supernova, written and directed by Harry Macqueen. In cinemas from 9 July

Gang of four, 77-81

Given the political intensity of the times its surely no accident that there is continued interest in the musical phenomenon that was “post-punk”.

Many bands of the late 1970s genre tried to fuse the energy and aggression of punk, with politics directed against the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.

But the best of them went further and asked us to think harder about the system we lived under, and the effect it had on us.

Leeds band Gang of Four was among the most articulate of the bunch.

Despite being touted as the “next big thing”—and playing support to some of the most popular post-punk outfits—their time never really came.

Perhaps the song titles and lyrics were to blame? Certainly, I never heard their song “Armalite Rifle” being played on daytime Radio One.

If you want to see what all the fuss was about, this collection is a good place to start.

Out now in all formats and streaming

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Reviews
Mon 21 Jun 2021, 09:17 BST
Issue No. 2760
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