Love is a curious event in our lives, one that finds us when we least expect it, one that we sometimes fail to fully appreciate. Time is an aspect of that love. Together, human intuition takes over, making for awkwardness for less-experienced lovers. I could be cliched and say, “love is a many-splendored thing” when talking about Goran Stolevski’s Of an Age, yet the statement is true.
Stolevski, who wowed Sundance audiences with his debut film, You Won’t Be Alone last year, happened upon this story of young love after reading a line in a novel. From that line, he created the characters of Kol, played by the handsome Elias Anton, the breathtaking and worldly Adam, played by Thom Green, and the rambunctious Ebony (Hattie Hook).
Kol is introverted about his sexuality, but the character carries a strut about him that draws us into the character. That strut, combined with his costuming, gave me the impression of a 70’s John Travolta from John Badham’s Saturday Night Fever. That’s important as an aspiring dancer. Ebony is his dance partner, and she’s a rabble-rouser but really innocent in the ways of the world, except for when she party’s too hardy and gets stranded, calling Kol to rescue her.
Kol doesn’t actually have the resources to pick her up; comically, Ebony doesn’t even know where she is. Together, like oil and water, they figure out where she is, and she manages to call her brother, Adam, to collect Kol so they can collect her. What happens next is pure, spontaneous magic.
Stolevski stages Of an Age in two separate time frames, 1999 and 2010. In both years that events occur, the audience is drawn into the present moment to witness the romance that befalls Kol and Adam. The intimacy that Stolevski invokes is forged, at first, through general conversation, with references to Strangers on a Train.
For the movie’s first half, we are set in a station wagon, creating a confined area where our characters have no choice but to get to know each other. From a narrative standpoint, the choice isn’t forced or manufactured; it feels naturally genuine, a refreshing aspect of an LGBTQ film.
Stolevski and cinematographer Matthew Chuang often shoot the characters in profile, with side glances at one another, creating an air of intimacy that the characters openly explore, their eyes carrying as much of the narrative as the dialogue. The movie’s second half is more distant, conveying change, but it is no less affecting. I spoke with Stolevski on the choice of the Academy aspect ratio they shot the film in and the reference to Anton’s similarities to Tony Manero. You can see more of the interview below. The choices Stolevski and Chuang made draw you into the intimacy and build sexual tension, resulting in a respectful sex scene between them.
Time, as a construct, is something we do not feel passing us by; however, Stolevski constantly reminds us of its presence and influence within the characters and narrative: a lack of time to get to the final dance recital for Kol and Ebony, Ebony’s constant use of mind-altering substances, Adam’s impending departure to South America, and finally, time’s effect on Kol and Adam’s romance.
If anything, Of an Age, has encouraged me to continue to put myself out there, that the spontaneity and genuineness of even the most awkward aspects of love aren’t uncommon. It helps to know that my experience was not distinctive or awkward. Goran Stolevski draws you into Kol and Adam’s world expertly and without ambiguity and offers confirmation that love is indeed a many-splendored thing.
Video Interview with Of an Age writer-director, Goran Stolevski:
Of an Age
Written and Directed by Goran Stolevski
Starring Elias Anton, Thom Green, Hattie Hook
R, 99 minutes, Focus Features