(Vue Cinema London - West End (Leicester Square), 3 Cranbourn Street Leicester, London WC2H 7AL, United Kingdom, Showtimes.SAT, JUN 26, 12:00 PM ● 5:15 PM ● 7:00 PM ● 9:15 PM) "Supernova" Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), partners of twenty years, are traveling across England in their old camper van visiting friends, family, and places from their past. Following a life-changing diagnosis, their time together has become more important than ever until secret plans test their love like never before. "Supernova" is a modern love story about a couple struggling with a diagnosis of early-onset dementia who take a road trip together to reconnect with friends, family and places from their past. Sam and Tusker have spent 20 years together, and they're as passionately in love as they've ever been. But in the two years since Tusker was diagnosed with early onset dementia, their lives have had to change. As Tusker’s condition progresses, Sam is forced to place his life on hold and become his partner’s full-time caregiver. Their time together has become the most important aspect of their lives and every moment they share has a weight it once did not. So, they plan a road trip while Tusker is still able to travel, to see friends and family and revisit memories from their long life together. While Tusker had once been Sam’s rock, it now falls to Sam to take control, and he's resolved to give his beloved partner as much joy and normalcy as he can muster. But his outer resolve belies an internal struggle to manage that colors their every moment. Meanwhile, Tusker knows that his condition is having an overwhelming effect on both their lives, and that he's beginning to lose control. As their trip together progresses, their individual ideas for their future begin to collide. Secrets are uncovered, private plans unravel, and their love for each other is tested like never before. Ultimately, they must confront the question of what it means to love one another in the face of Tusker’s incurable illness. A supernova is the massive explosive event at the end of the evolution of a star. This is representative of Tusker himself, a man who shines bright in all he does, brings light and laughter to almost every situation and is, of course, dying. It’s quite literal in that regard. He knows his final chapter is just around the corner. Tusker is a man who wants to be well, a man who wants to be in control. Outwardly, Tusker’s life seems pretty normal most of the time, but inwardly he’s being slowly and absolutely unraveled by his condition. When you’re dealing with something so deeply felt, and with a condition that changes so many people’s lives in the way dementia does, it’s a moral imperative to do it right. Sam is the self-pitying character of the piece. He’s a person being asked to make a huge sacrifice for the person he loves. It’s ironic, because it’s not happening to Sam. Sam has to be relieved of his self-pity by Tusker, the man who’s truly having to deal with this. That plays as part of the dynamic. It's a very interesting question to ask; who’s the caretaker? Sam and Tusker set against huge ideas concerning love, memory, identity, and end of a life. Indeed, the intertwined nature of these two aspects is reflected in the film’s title, "Supernova", which refers directly to Tusker’s interest in the night sky, but also to the context of this intimate story in the vast space of the universe. The scenes under the night sky, gazing at stars, echo the insignificance of the human race in the greater scheme of things, but you’ve also got these intimate moments between two characters. We don’t see them at home. We don’t really know much about their lives at all. There’s a kind of propulsion that being on the road gives you, a mechanism, with cogs turning. As a way of framing the film, it seemed like an effortless way to take these characters from A to B, and through it, you’re afforded the possibility to bring in all of this incredible scenery and the beautiful natural world, which is very important when you’re talking about the big questions of life. This interesting, microcosmic world in which we find these two people has even more resonance and appeal than it might have done otherwise. You’re challenged with the task of doing justice to a character, and it may sound a little highfalutin, but we feel there’s something quite sacred about that. At around the film’s midway point, Sam and Tusker visit Sam’s childhood home, now inhabited by his sister Lilly (Pippa Haywood) and her husband Tim (James Dreyfus). It’s a joyous section of the film, where everyone has come together. Everything inside the house feels like a big, warm hug. A safe space before the real darkness of the story unfolds. So, it’s a place of respite for them, a place of comfort and familiarity. There's a similar transformation for the cottage at 'Supernova’s' climax, though it's contrasted against Sam’s family home by a cold and clinical sensibility. "Supernova" is about versions of young-onset dementia that has played out in very different ways. We know so little about it. And especially when it comes to young-onset dementias, there’s a lot we don’t know. We're learning new things about these conditions on a monthly basis. You've to understand that the perception of dementia, as being a condition characterized solely by memory loss, is inaccurate. Ultimately, if you've any type of dementia, at any age, it will eventually end up with 'Alzheimer’s', which involves total memory loss, but actually a lot of the different types of dementia have nothing to do with memory for a long time. The film wants to find out more about this disorder specifically, as well as the vital debate around end-of-life choices; one that still rages to this day in many countries around the world. It's a story that frames a same-sex relationship in an original manner. To present a loving relationship for which the sexuality of the characters didn’t in any way shape the narrative. A film about long-term partners who are bound together by their deep love for each other, whilst being pushed apart by the situation they find themselves in. The characters and themes in "Supernova" reflect our attempt to do these people and their stories justice in a truthful and original manner, to place a selfless, loving relationship in the context of an immediate future that hangs in the balance. It's an intimate, self-contained tale that investigates some of the biggest human questions of all: how we live and love and laugh, even as we near the end of our time. The film talks about death and loss through the very simple, human days surrounding it. The score takes a lead in three key moments of transition; the journey to the lake, to Lilly’s house, and to the cottage, and each transitional scene takes us from one emotional state to another. The idea is to exist within these limitations, and have something that sounded intimate and familiar. While the story plays out, and grand vistas roll past us on screen, the string players breath and fingers and seat shuffles are present, hopefully making it sound human. Like friends with their arms around you. If death does one thing well, it’s to shine a stark spotlight on life, and the love we feel for one another, or even just the beauty of the hills and fields around us. It's journey away from the complex cognitive outer layer that once defined them, through the jumble and tangle of emotions created through their life experiences, to the center of their being That really resonates with the way the film portrays the relationship with the condition and with each other. It’s now just the two of them trying to reach each other and wrestle with the questions of cognition and choice, because that’s one of the harshest things about this, is feeling choice has been taken away. Indeed, dementia does not discriminate, and though cinema has a long and rich history of gay storytelling that directly examines sexuality, the film reflects a shared experience through the lens of a committed, long-term relationship between two men. You could easily swap it out for a heterosexual couple, and it wouldn’t matter. But equally, the fact it’s a gay couple adds a whole other element to it. How with love, trust, and compassion, it’s possible to make this difficult stage of life empowering and life-affirming, not only for the person that’s dying, but for the people around them. The older we get, the more we feel that the specific and the universal are connected. Looking at big themes as big themes just always feels like it gets you nowhere, if that’s all you’re doing. Equally, everyday realities, if you’re attempting to detach them from anything wider, then it’s a dead end as well. All sorrows are alike. But we think if you’re trying to make something that has a universal resonance, the way in is through the very personal and the very specific, and this film is a study in that.