Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

The Quiet Majesty of Love

Two aspects of the beautiful 2021 British film SUPERNOVA starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci touched me. First, the story opens with the two naked men peacefully sleeping together. Like many straight people who are not yet accustomed to films centered on LGBTQ characters, my kneejerk reaction was to feel vaguely alienated. What could this film say to me?

Gradually, as the exquisite acting progressed, I realized my error. Gender was irrelevant. I was drawn into a tender, honest love story that reminded me of my own 45-year relationship with my husband—how the human heart yearns for love, for understanding. When the rare gift presents itself, we hold it close as our most precious possession. Few relationships rise from a spring that runs deeply enough to be life-long. Love that is less can easily trickle away, victim of difficult times or poorly chosen directions. In other words, the love between Tusker, the writer, and Sam, the pianist, in SUPERNOVA is not a simplistic expression of overwhelming passion or a desperate plea for companionship as is often the case in films depicting same sex relationships. Theirs is a long-term, complex, multi-level bond to be envied by any soul, one that includes intellectual intimacy. They share their love and all that is good about them as individuals and as a couple not merely with one another, but also with family and friends.

The second aspect of SUPERNOVA that inspired me to tear up was its gentle illustration of the tragedy of creeping, incurable dementia—one of my own terrors. When I watched the 2014 film STILL ALICE starring Julianne Moore some time ago, about a professional woman slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s, I felt crushed more than touched. Alice’s egotistical husband became embarrassed and inconvenienced by her decline. She who had been treasured for her fine mind, good taste, and attractive presence was suddenly inept and unwanted. It reminded me of the unspoken Madison Avenue threats behind commercials and ads that warn us we must be trendy, attractive, and fun to be lovable. In contrast, in SUPERNOVA, Stanley Tucci plays Tusker, a writer who refuses to relinquish the plot of his life story to outside control. He loves himself as he is and has been. Likewise, his partner Sam, played by Colin Firth, loves him so unconditionally that Sam is willing and ready to accept Tusker’s final path regardless of what that exit might look like or require. Although Tusker’s choice of ending is not universally appropriate, it is his choice, one that encouraged me to tell my husband, “I would do that for you.” Those who can but don’t dare take a COVID vaccination or wear masks for their loved ones or others may not understand.

The glory of SUPERNOVA lies in its quiet reality. In a time when so many clutch to their chests fantastic stories based on violence, betrayal, preaching, or implausibility, hoping to apply unlikely blissful outcomes to themselves after selfishness, judgment, and division, the silent power of real love outclasses overblown hysterics. Those who wait for the film to explode with melodrama and conflict are disappointed. If you have never known love that deep, you may not yet appreciate its majesty.

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