Of an Age

On the morning of the Australian dance finals, Kol (Elias Anton), practicing in his sequined ballroom jumpsuit, gets a panicked phone call from his partner Ebony (Hattie Hook).  She woke up hung over on a beach, her bag and shoes gone, and needs picking up if she could only figure out where she even was.   Bypassing Ebony’s mother, Fay (Verity Higgin), Kol has a friend call the house and recruits Ebony’s older brother Adam (Thom Green) to try and beat impossible odds.  Instead he will encounter the love of a lifetime in “Of an Age.”

Laura's Review: A-

Writer/director/editor Goran Stolevski ("You Won't Be Alone") obliterates the sophomore slump with this heartbreaking account of an ostracized eighteen year-old Serbian immigrant embracing his sexual orientation on the eve of his lover’s departure for doctorate studies in Buenos Aires.  Cinematographer Matthew Chuang ("You Won't Be Alone") keeps his handheld camera very close in on Anton, his Kol uncomfortable under the gentle teasing of the more sophisticated twenty-four year-old Adam and stays close in on he and Green as the dynamic changes, Kol’s answers to Adam’s questions sparking the older man’s interest as he begins to see something of himself in this awkward young man denying his own sexuality.

That Stolevski, who has harvested the atmosphere of his own early years in North Melbourne for authentic blue collar flavor, creates such an enduring and emotional connection during a conversation held in traffic is a marvel unto itself, but he also ingeniously folds in the complete f&*k-up that is Ebony, not only as a connective device, but to flesh out Kol’s character, the casual chaos of her orbit the price he pays for a friendship.  After the let down of missing the event he was primed for (the film’s opening minutes treat us to Anton’s sexy dance moves in Kol’s garage), Kol is summoned to a party with a phone call from Ebony, a high school affair he wanders through sticking out like a sore thumb, its hostess, Coral (Grace Graznak), heaping bigoted abuse on him.  But that phone call was prompted by Adam, also present, and the two go off on another momentous drive.  Ten years later they will meet at the Melbourne airport luggage carousels, both in town for Ebony’s wedding.

Stolevski segues to his final act with the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption which disrupted air travel for months, another occasion of an arduous journey for this couple.  Adam quizzes the much more mature looking Kol about just why he maintains a relationship with his sister, only to learn Kol hasn’t talked to her in years (yet just endured 27 hours of air travel).   Kol moved away himself after his family disowned him, having come out publicly after his night with Adam. The reunion and the wedding itself are bittersweet, Kol finally enjoying that dance with Ebony, who blows him a heartfelt kiss upon his departure, the value of his friendship finally recognized.  But while Adam is clearly moved upon seeing Kol again, life has intervened in the meantime.

Elias Anton, with his bedroom eyes and self-conscious grin, conveys both the unformed boy and confident man we meet ten years later.  Thom Green presents a romantic ideal, the older, worldlier man containing a well of compassion.  The two are brilliantly supported by Hattie Hook portraying that type everyone once seemed to know, incapable of considering anything but the present moment.  “Of an Age” is an artfully crafted emotional wrecking ball, a film that perfectly captures the intensity of first love.

Focus Features releases "Of an Age" in select theaters on 2/10/23, expanding on 2/17/23.