Although one’s life has always inspired artists, the last few decades have seen an explosion of excellent works of autobiographical cinema. We are led once more into such an experience in the romantic drama Of an Age, which is the second feature film written and directed by Goran Stolevski. Yet, the narrative of this film feels less like an autobiographical story and more like a story based on feeling.
The specifics of the occurrences are not nearly as significant as the fleeting feelings that legitimately inform them. These emotions are what make the events what they are. Stolevski appears to be interested in the more private moments of a passionate love that exists behind the surface of the daily, whether during a ride in a car or when maneuvering through an unpleasant gathering.
Movie Trailer: Of An Age
As a result, it is a piece of art that can keep the audience at a bit of a remove because a significant portion of the movie is characterized by what is not said. At the same time, every frame is imbued with a sense of ambiguity and longing, which gives the impression of being unmistakably personal as it unfolds. Although it is not as captivating as his previous feature film, You Won’t Be Alone; it shares with that film a similar concern for highlighting the connection in a world typically formed by solitude.
In this particular scenario, the world is Australia, where Stolevski himself immigrated to as a child after being born in North Macedonia. We witness it through the eyes of the young Kol (Elias Anton), who at this point in his life is attempting to find out who he is and wants to be in the future. The first chapter takes place in 1999 when he is 17 years old, and the second chapter takes place years later when he returns home as an adult. It begins with amusing pandemonium.
The story takes place across two chapters. When Kol is in the middle of his dance routine, he receives a frantic call from his ballroom partner and friend Ebony (Hattie Hook), who has just woken up on a beach and has no memory of how she got there. She is a little shaken up, and the two yell at each other over the phone as they try to figure out where she is to bring her to an important tournament they have on time.
After that, Kol receives assistance from Ebony’s brother Adam, played by Thom Green, who picks him up to go and fetch Ebony. It is the point in the movie where everything comes to a complete stop and marks the beginning of a calm but controlled rhythm. It begins with the two of them opening up to one another for a day before each of them goes their ways, and there are times when it is playfully humorous before it becomes more tragic in its direction. It finds a greater melancholy in how fleeting these moments of love are, much like other novels that are similarly formed by the approaching departure of a main character.
This is sensed most strongly in Adam, who is both charismatic and caring, despite everything else. The instant Green pulls up into the plot; he puts the film into a new gear that feels more slow and poetic. This shift occurs immediately after Green’s introduction. Every time Adam steals a peek at Kol, we see a naughty glint in his eye.
This sparkle carries the same amount of intensity as the times when a somberness sneaks across his face. As soon as the two starts talking to one another while driving, the sense of urgency that had been present just a second before completely disappears. This is not a critique because it accurately conveys the reason behind the pace choices that were made in the movie.
When Kol was confronting his fears by himself, he even threw up on the side of the road. Nevertheless, when he was in the embrace of another person, he found something fundamental to who he was. He is anxious because he is drawn to this person in a way that he has never been drawn to anyone else in his entire life up until this point.
When we get small glimpses of how some family members will disparage him merely for existing, he has never been able to explore his sexuality, which is something he has never had the opportunity to do. It is almost as if we are witnessing Kol for the very first time when he is with Adam, who is not ashamed to be gay and is honest about the things he wants in life.
The two still have some reservations about the comedy they enjoy sharing. However, the way that Stolevski subtly coaxes out their passion through close-ups captures the developing feelings played out during this drive. These feelings are then juxtaposed with fleeting glimpses of the passing landscape, which, as a result, feel more alive than they would have otherwise.
Although they are in a limited environment that visually boxes them in, when they are alone together in the car, it is the freest each character is during the entirety of the movie.
There is a consistent impression that the plot is holding itself back even as all of this is happening. This is done on purpose largely because it demonstrates how the couple cannot be open with each other when they are in the presence of other people. As an illustration, the event’s vibe shifts tremendously the instant they pick up Ebony since you can clearly see how the tentative flirtation is no longer present since both parties are forced to shut themselves off.
While this is happening, I cannot help but understand that the plot’s development lacks something important. When the particulars of their relationship are not fully appreciated, a domineering score will attempt to bridge the gap formed, but this can only go so far until it is no longer effective. Even while much of this could be understood via the lens of how each of them seeks something bigger that might not come to pass, the plot was still begging for more layers of complexity.
Especially when we jump into the not-too-distant future to see how each of their personalities has developed, the performances from Anton and Green greatly elevate the material, albeit the weight of the responsibility cannot solely lay on their shoulders. Even in a story meant to be a slice of life like this one, there must be other levels. When the slice is therefore a bit thin in areas, it prevents the film from having the bigger resonance that it is reaching.
This is because the slice is holding back the film. When we witness the two of them making eye contact across the room, even though there is a significant amount of physical distance and time separating them, our reservations miraculously dissipate. There will always be a significant portion of the picture that is too remote, but the times Stolevski pulls us in closer make the film’s portrait of emotion resonate where it matters the most.
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