starring Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci
written and directed by Harry Macqueen
by Walter Chaw Tusker (Stanley Tucci) is an author of some minor renown who has a way with a toast and a loving, if sometimes crabby, relationship with his husband, Sam (Colin Firth). Sam is a concert pianist of even more minor renown whom Tusker teases at a diner along the route of a holiday they're taking in the English countryside by telling a waitress that Sam will be glad to sign an autograph for her if she likes. It's clear the poor woman doesn't have the first idea who Sam is, but she's very polite about it. Sam asks why Tusker does things like this when Tusker admits that half the time he doesn't get any joy out of it. Tusker says, "For the other half of the time." In his film Supernova, writer-director Harry Macqueen's script is consistently like this: understated, beautifully observed, intensely human. It's a two-hander with two of the absolute best actors on the planet, so how much script and direction do they need? However much it is, Macqueen gives them just enough. I love the way Sam says "Tusker" like "Tosca," the Puccini opera, but I love it because that's the way, accent or no, your name will evolve with your partner over a life together. It's not a nickname, it's a secret language. After 24 years, no one says "Walter" like my wife says it. It's subtle, but I hear it. I know the contours of it in her voice like I know the curve of her hip when I sleep next to her. The film opens with Sam and Tusker bickering, first about a map, then about what station they're listening to. When Donovan's "Catch the Wind" comes on the radio and Tusker, to cool the tension a bit, cajoles Sam into singing along, well, I fell in love with them. Tusker and Sam are real people.