Of an age2023.
Written and directed by Goran Stolevski.
With Elias Anton, Thom Green, Hattie Hook, Toby Derrick, Grace Graznak, Verity Higgins, Jessica Lu, Jack Kenny, Milijana Cancar, Julia Harari, Joshua Johnson, Senuri Chandrani, Peter Rayias and Kasuni Imbulana.
In the summer of 1999, an 18-year-old Australian amateur ballroom dancer, born in Serbia, experiences an unexpected and intense 24-hour romance with a friend’s older brother.
Before taking us back to Australia in 1999, writer/director Goran Stolevski Of an age opens relatively in the present day where Kol (Elias Anton) stands in front of his vehicle covered in twilight cinematography, overlooking the rest of the city, giving in to complicated desires to phone his old friend Ebony (Hattie Hook). Kol dials the numbers with tears in his eyes so much that we wonder if something bad happened to him or between them. Ebony’s mother answers and is surprised by the call, which sends the films back in time, a time and an experience from which the filmmaker seems to be personally inspired.
There, one summer morning (which is close to Christmas time in Australia), Ebony wakes up on a beach, shocked and panicked because her drinking party with boys on one of their dad’s boats has gone south, and she’s a long way from the dance hall where she’s supposed to perform in the Australian final in a few hours. After begging a stranger to use the phone booth, she calls her dance partner Kol, telling him the bad news that unless he goes out of his way to pick her up, there’s no way she’ll be there. they can carry out the contest.
Stunned and stressed, they concoct a plan that involves Ebony’s slightly older, college-educated gay brother, Adam (Thom Green), to get her back and distract their parents from her misadventures.
Flashing back a minute, Kol is featured practicing one of his dance routines, to classical music, where his younger brother bursts in with Ebony’s phone call. While immersing us in the era and telling him to handle the call quickly so he can start using dial-up internet again, it also implies that he despises Kol’s hobby. Throughout the film, other girls assume he is gay, while some are much tougher and xenophobic, challenging his Serbian heritage. These same people also criticize Adam, citing that he has no life, while some went much further and voted him “most likely to blow up school” in the yearbook.
Once Kol and Adam get settled in the car, Goran Stolevski lets the camera roll as they practically get to know each other in real time, making for an arduous ride to pick up Ebony. They organically meet common interests, as it becomes apparent that Kol might in fact be gay and have a romantic interest in Adam. Somehow, this car ride full of extended dialogue is never boring, welcoming us with both characters and hoping for something to develop.
When Ebony is picked up, she continues to perform unkind behavior. She doesn’t care that they missed the finals of the dance competition, which was important to Kol, and is repeatedly shown to be self-centered due to a wake-up call.
Of an age not only beautifully depicts a sexual awakening but also the first steps in letting go of contact with close-knit high school friends because as time goes on people change or in some cases they don’t change and do not evolve. The longer the movie drags on, the more the question shifts from “is something tragic happening to Ebony here” to “why would he want to talk to this person again in the future”.
Ebony also exhibits xenophobic behavior found in other guests at the party they meet up at, making it clear that she is looking to connect with a white person. Meanwhile, a gravitational pull between Kol and Adam grows stronger, even as the latter leaves to study linguistics in another country.
It’s a seemingly painfully accurate exploration of growing up as a gay immigrant in an unwelcoming part of Australia (even Kol’s family rudely insists he be more manly and watch football) while formative love flourishes. By the time Goran Stolevski returns to the present day, there isn’t much left in the film, and it shows a lot as parts of it feel rushed and ill-conceived. However, it takes some of those seeds planted in 1999, offering many benefits regarding aging, growth, reconnection, and bonds that never die; it is better to have loved than not to experience a particular flame at all.
Fortunately, the end is tender and touching, but this consideration is absent from much of the last 30 minutes. of an age is a tale of two halves where the second half is not constructed with the same level of care and craftsmanship. But Elias Anton and Thom Green will always steal hearts, with a central romance that’s as uplifting as it is heartbreaking.
Scintillating Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter Or Letter boxor email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com