Quick Synopsis: Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci play a couple embarking on a road trip as one of them starts to suffer the effects of early onset dementia
I was going to avoid this. The title and the poster did nothing to draw me in. To be honest they both made it seem kind of dull. It gave no indication of what the film was about. It wasn’t until I saw The Father and I had a trailer for this that I had any idea what it was about. I was still uncertain, there was a chance it could still be bad, very melodramatic and kind of dull. That it would try so hard to be emotional that it would actually lack any as it would all be fake. There was also the risk that seeing two films about dementia in such a short space of time would mean I have nothing new to see. The Father was so good that was a risk that this would just seem, I dunno, “less than” in comparison, especially considering this hasn’t had anywhere near the awards hype that that got.
In the end those fears were unfounded. No, it’s not as good at putting you in the shoes of the character as the other film did, but it’s not supposed to. It’s not about confusion, it’s not about not knowing who you are, and having short moments of lucidity. It’s the opposite, it’s about a man who occasionally gets affected by it, but is lucid enough the rest of the time that he is aware that it’s happening, and it scares him. It’s telling a different story, but one that is just as heartbreaking.
That being said, there are some things with the script which don’t really work. One of which is linked to the title. The title refers to Stanley Tucci’s character having an interest in astronomy, and tries to teach Colin Firth’s character about navigation. It’s a nice touch, but it feels a bit too much. Especially when he starts talking to a young girl about stars dying in a blaze of glory, burning out and illuminating the sky, very unsubtle. The character is also an author, and it feels like that part of him was underdeveloped in favour of the title trait. Reminds me of Sometimes Always Never from a few years ago, where the character trait was scrabble, but the title was based on the correct button order for a suit. If they made it so his writing was astronomy based that would have meant it worked. But as it is, him being an author doesn’t seem to matter as much, which is strange and kind of hurts the film.
That’s nothing against the performances though, Tucci and Firth knock it out of the park here. It helps that they don’t play the characters stereotypically, they play them as fully developed people, which helps the believability. They actually make a really good couple. You can tell by the way they behave together that not only are they in love, but they have been for a long time. The interactions between them are adorable, you can tell it’s a relationship of mutual support, just lovely.
So in summary; I wouldn’t say you NEED to see it, but if you do, you probably won’t regret it. Its biggest flaw is that it is released in cinemas so soon after The Father, so comparisons between the two are inevitable, and when you do that, it does not favour this movie.