Review of Of An Age



Of An Age
Written and directed by Goran Stolevski



Set in Melbourne in 1999 and ten years later, this gay romance between a seventeen-year-old, Serbian-born Australian ballroom dancer, Kol (Elias Anton), and Adam (Thom Green), the older brother of Kol’s dance partner, Ebony (Hattie Hook), has some touching, tender moments. But it also has some that could have been edited to lessen their repetitiveness and frenetic pace.

After waking on an unidentifiable beach the morning of their dance finals, a hysterical Ebony calls Kol from a phone booth and demands he find a way to collect her and her costume and get them to the studio on time – an impossible feat given the distance and early-morning traffic. Adam comes to the rescue, and with Kol, drives to the beach in what must be one of the longest scenes in a car ever filmed. The car is the setting for other conversations and the inevitable tryst between Kol and Adam, all within 24 hours of meeting. At the beginning of the film, Adam is about to fly to Argentina to pursue a postgraduate program in linguistics studies. When Kol asks him why Spanish, Adam replies, “South Americans are just hotter.”

The long drive back to Melbourne is peppered with friendly banter between the two guys, Kol’s attempts to impress Adam with his reading of literary classics, Adam stripping off his shirt, and furtive glances back and forth between the two. Along the way, Adam lets it drop that his ex is a man. Ebony, who seems left out of this menage-à-trois, exits the car, but not before uttering a prescient “you fucking dudes love each other.”

In an effort to console Ebony, Kol tells her that she is “the next Nicole Kidman and way better than Cate Blanchett,” a comparison that bears little resemblance to reality, especially when Ebony reveals she has just been rejected by the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Meanwhile, Kol professes his love for her, despite his growing interest in Adam.

All three are graduating from, Watsonia High School, and when Kol asks Adam if he is looking forward to university— Adam replies, “Yes, compared to that bogan (uncouth) high. Like looking forward to having a kidney stone.” This mix of Aussie slang and understated humor inserts itself throughout the script, adding a lightness that brings welcome relief to overdoses of teenage rants and profanity.

When another former high school mate runs into the trio, he announces there will be a party that night at Carol’s place. Kol and Adam say they will decline the invitation, but neither does. Kol wilts under pressure to try weed, and ends up being told by a drunken and geographically-challenged hostess to “go back to fuckin Czechoslovakia.”

He doesn’t get quite that far when Adam drives up. Kol asks if he can join him and Adam obliges, cautioning Kol to cut ties with Ebony. “You deserve better friends,” he says; presumably, friends like Adam. The car comes to a halt at the foot of power lines featured several times in the movie. Perhaps they hold some symbolic meaning, but surely Melbourne has some more alluring settings for the coupling in the back of the car that follows. As dawn is breaking, a tearful Adam says to Kol, “Promise you’ll meet someone, you beautiful boy,” and drives off.

Hattie Hook as Ebony (left) walking with Adam, played by Thom Green (center), and Elias Anton (right) as Kol in Of An Age.

A black screen appears — Is this the end of the film? – and we are transported ten years into the future, to Melbourne airport, where, serendipitously, Adam and Kol meet at the same luggage carousel. Kol has flown in from the UK and Adam from Switzerland, both to attend Ebony’s wedding. Kol’s facial hair has grown, and he presents as a more assured young man than the one we knew a decade before. Driving from the airport, Adam asks Kol if he is staying at home, but with an utter deadpan expression, Kol says no, “the uncles don’t talk to me anymore, since they found out that I fuck boys. It was a bit of a deal breaker”.

At Ebony’s home before the wedding, someone asks Kol if he is married. He says no, he’s waiting for same-sex marriage to become legal in Australia. To which a woman replies, “Adam didn’t wait. He married a Canadian.” Kol is gobsmacked, and retreats into himself to protect his wounded soul.

Cut to the wedding where, after her new husband is clearly under-par on the dance floor, Ebony teams up with Kol and we finally see what an impressive dance duo they are. Not quite Strictly Ballroom, but good enough to woo the crowd and send many female glances in Kol’s direction, while Adam looks on longingly and The Boy is Mine plays wistfully in the background.

As dawn breaks, Adam and Kol embrace outside. After first confessing that Kol is “such a loser,” Kol then adds, “How lucky am I? What other boys at Watsonia High got to experience this feeling?” Adam is in tears, the power lines reappear, and they both walk away. The final scene is in a hotel room, but neither wants to have sex. When Adam asks Kol what he does want, he replies, “To hold you.”

Throughout the movie, music plays a significant role, particularly European and Latin American songs, a bit like an early rendition of the Eurovision Song Contest. A subtle reminder, perhaps, that modern Australia, especially a city like Melbourne, is no longer the Anglo-dominated outpost it once was, but a place where the whole world finds a home.

While Of An Age doesn’t quite compare to Holding The Man and other Australian LGBTQ+ movies, it does have moments that draw you in and help you remember, “I’ve been there” or “I wish I‘d been there.” That director Goran Stolevski managed to pull this off in the aftermath of a long COVID lockdown and with a very narrow shooting window, is to his credit. Despite its rough edges, the movie reminds us how far we have come in embracing sexual diversity, and at times, how far we still have to go.


After graduating from university in 1971, Australian-born John Burbidge joined an international NGO that pioneered people’s participation in community and organizational development. After playing many roles from facilitator to fundraiser to communications director, he left after 30 years to pursue his own writing. He is the author of an acclaimed biography of Australian writer Gerald Glaskin, a memoir of coming out as a gay man in India, and a collection of travel-inspired stories. He lives with his husband on Molokai, Hawaii.


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