Despite premiering last august at the Melbourne International Film Festival, Goran Stolevski’s latest offering only just reached US theaters, and isn’t scheduled for a wide release in Australia until late March. Centered around Adam and Kol, the film follows their one-night romance as it morphs into a lifetime of unrequited love. After over a decade apart, the two eventually find themselves reunited in the same place their relationship started. Old desires are reignited, leaving them both with tough decisions. While the film doesn’t shy away from the intense emotions of heartbreak, its ending isn’t sad—not in the way we expect. Instead, audiences are left to think about how important it is to live in the present and appreciate all life has to offer, no matter how brief it might be. Tender, compelling and visually stunning, this is cinema at its most human.
Something I really appreciated about this movie was how its formal elements highlighted its content. The cinematography is extremely expressive: there are lens flares, along with striking uses of color and light. Resisting a more naturalistic filming style, Matthew Chuang’s work behind the camera creates a dreamlike tone that emphasizes the magic of the here-and-now.
This is contrasted against the harsh reality Kol and Adam inevitably run into: homophobia, self-consciousness and lives that seem to be on two different trajectories. The movie captures this sense of being trapped by keeping the camera almost constantly zoomed in on each actor’s face, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere that’s echoed by the box-like aspect ratio, reflecting how these characters are confined by their reality. With the visuals so focused on their faces, Stolevski’s filmmaking proves to not only be incredibly intimate, but unwavering in its sympathy. Despite this, the movie never veers toward the sentimental. There’s a lot of nuance here, and I think the actors’ amazing performances deserve a lot of that credit.
Thom Green’s portrayal of Adam is cool, calm and collected—until he isn’t. In the more emotional scenes, he’s able to convey a deep vulnerability that’s only matched by Elias Anton’s Kol. Anton approaches his role with a deep sensitivity that seeps wonderfully onscreen, tugging at the heartstrings while still making us laugh, which is no easy feat. Together, the two actors have a great chemistry filled with sincerity and humor.
Hilarity was a very important part of why this movie works. It’d have been easy for Stolevski to focus just on the heartache, but he instead shows why it’s so important to live in the present. The movie ends by reminding us that nothing is forever, but that’s what makes life so special. We aren’t focused on the fact that their romance is short-lived, nor do we focus on what could have been. Quite the opposite. Towards the end of the film, when Kol keeps telling Adam he’s “so lucky” to have known a love as pure as theirs, audiences won’t mourn that their relationship is over, but will instead celebrate that it happened while looking forward to what lies ahead. Of an Age is now in theaters, and is perhaps the first must-watch this year has to offer. If this review hasn't convinced you yet, here's the trailer!