Sam and Tusker are traveling across England in their old RV to visit friends, family and places from their past. Since Tusker was diagnosed with dementia two years ago, their time together is the most important thing they have.
Sam and Tusker, partners of 20 years, are traveling across England in their old RV visiting friends, family and places from their past. Since Tusker was diagnosed with early-onset dementia two years ago, their time together is the most important thing they have.
During a January 2021 LA Times interview with Emily Zemler, Stanley Tucci said that he was originally cast as Sam and Colin Firth as Tusker, but during their pre-filming discussions they both came to agree that they should switch the roles: "'We sat down and started talking about the script and where we'd be shooting, and then Colin said, "Stanley, I think maybe we should switch roles,"' remembers Tucci, who initially brought the film to Firth after meeting with Macqueen. 'I said, 'I've been thinking the same thing." And I don't know why. I just felt it. So we read both ways for Harry-and I could tell Harry was panicked when we told him-and it was evident.' 'It was an amazing process,' Macqueen adds. 'They brought that to me, and we decided to do an audition, which is an amazing privilege for a writer-director to have two people like Stanley and Colin sitting in a room reading both roles. I picked five or 10 scenes from the film, and they were kind of brilliant at both roles, as you can imagine. But there was just something about the quintessential Englishness that Colin brought to Sam and a kind gregarious energy that Stanley immediately brought to [the American] Tusker, which made the lighter moments in the film really sing. It just felt right all of a sudden.'" See more »
But being sad when something is gone, just means it was great while it was there. right?
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Written by Claude Carrasu
Courtesy of Intersound
Under licence from Cavendish Music See more »
the stars shine brightly
Greetings again from the darkness. Relationships end. Sometimes that brings relief, other times pain. For long time couple Sam and Tusker, the end is speeding towards them and they are each taking approaches on how best to handle. Writer-director Harry Macqueen delivers a tender story that is elevated by two extraordinary lead performances.
Colin Firth (Oscar winner, THE KING'S SPEECH, 2010) stars as Sam, a concert pianist, and Stanley Tucci (Oscar nominated, THE LOVELY BONES, 2009) co-stars as Tusker, a published novelist. These are arguably career best performances from both, and they complement each other so well on screen that we simply forget we are watching actors and accept the plight of this couple - of these two men. Driving along in their RV from a bygone era, they have the familiar exchanges that come from spending a lifetime together. We enjoy their banter, but it's Sam's opening line that sets the tone when he says, "We're not going back, you know". He's referring to a suitcase that Tusker didn't allow him to help pack, though soon enough we realize that line is even more to the point when it comes to their life journey.
As the bucolic northern England countryside passes by, it becomes evident that Tusker has early onset dementia. Though more present than not, he sometimes forgets a word, while in his worst moments doesn't know where he is or how he arrived. The purpose of the trip is two-fold: Sam is giving a 'comeback' concert after many years away from the circuit, and this is Tusker's farewell visit to family and friends. Of course, we (and Tusker) also recognize that this is likely the final fond memory this couple will make. While Sam is insistent that he can help Tusker remain productive, Tusker is well aware that he will quickly become a burden to the man he loves - and that's not something he wants to see happen.
Dementia is a slow fade, often over many years. Recognizing that it's happening to you is as painful as watching a loved one decline. People deal with this in their own way, and Macqueen's film handles it gently, while the actors exhibit much grace in their portrayals. The line, "It's not about fair. It's about love" really struck a nerve, and made it clear that these are two characters we like and believe in - inside a story that's heart-wrenching. Star-gazing plays a role here, and there's only a mild poke at Margaret Thatcher's policy towards gays. This isn't a movie of politics, but rather one of emotions and humanity. Not much happens here ... only everything. Best to reach for the stars, as "we're not going back."
*side note: I did have to look up "frog-marching" since it's used in conversation, and I had not previously heard the phrase.
The film hits theaters on January 29, 2021 and Digital on February 16, 2021
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