Watch The Trailer
Storyline (warning: spoilers)
Harry Macqueen wrote and directed the tender story of Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), partners for two decades who we meet on a road trip across England (shot with luscious beauty by the great Dick Pope). They bicker a bit about directions and other simple things, but there’s something heavy in the air early in the film. Tusker is fading, and he knows he’s only going to get worse. From the very beginning of the film, Tucci and Firth imbue Sam and Tusker with what so many of these cinematic partnerships lack: history. We believe Sam and Tusker didn’t just meet and aren’t just actors in a scene. They feel like people who know each other’s body language; people who can sense change and emotional unrest in one another in ways that no one else can.
It turns out that the road trip has a few purposes, including reuniting with old friends and family of Sam’s in England. This leads the film to open-up to other characters, but it’s Firth and Tucci’s show from the beginning to the end. It also leads to an unforgettable centrepiece scene in which Tusker is supposed to read a speech at a dinner, but he can’t because of his condition, and so Sam reads the words his lover has written, many of them about him. Sam communicates Tusker's feelings for him. Tucci does some of the best work of his notable career in this scene, conveying the pride in what he’s written about Sam—in many ways, the last time he will be able to express these thoughts about the most important in his life—but also lacing it with the sadness of the moment.
They’re both phenomenal in the movie, finding so many grace notes that elevate a story that could have been maudlin into something that feels truly empathetic. The film ranks among career-best work from both actors.