"Of An Age" Source: Focus Features

Review: 'Of An Age'

JC Alvarez READ TIME: 3 MIN.

Set in the summer at the turn of the new millennium, "Of An Age" is the story of Kol (Elias Anton), a 17-year-old Serbian immigrant living in Australia who is determined to have his day in the spotlight competing in ballroom dancing finals. All of his dreams of fortune and glory are seemingly shattered when Ebony (played by Hattie Hook) blacks out after a night of partying and wakes up on the other side of town near the beach, destroying Kol's chances of making it on time to the competition.

That doesn't stop Kol from doing his best, suiting up in his ballroom dancing outfit and immediately dashing out the door to grab Ebony's dress and shoes. Kol enlists the help of Ebony's older brother, Adam (played by Thom Green), who is home on his way to university. At first their meeting is awkward, with Kol out of sorts and looking like an extra from "Saturday Night Fever."

The two young men do begin to warm up to one another on the car trip. It helps that the slightly older Adam is happily ribbing Kol in a big brotherly fashion and that Kol is not intimidated by it at all. In fact, he's quite enjoying the attention. Adam is also very quick to recognize that Kol is determined to get to the ballroom competition and sympathizes, even feeling slightly responsible for the fact that thanks to Ebony's selfishness, Kol's opportunity may be blown. Looking through some discarded boxes of tapes, Kol finds some music and decides to play it – and is surprised by the mix.

Adam readily admits that the music isn't his, and isn't really to his taste, but rather belongs to his ex and he was on his way to return the tapes. Adam's admission takes Kol aback, and even makes him uncomfortable. When the pair finally locate Ebony, their attention turns to her. Adam can't help but notice just how tense the ride back to their neighborhood becomes, and that the summer heat has begun to rise. When he relents and takes his shirt off, Kol begins to steal looks over at Adam, admiring him from the passenger seat.

Director Goran Stoleyski, takes his time to address the tension as Kol begins to realize and open up to Adam that he is attracted to him, although he doesn't entirely understand these new feelings. During the course of the long day, the trio ends up crossing paths at a neighbor's house party. Kol isn't entirely welcomed by the group, but feels a little more at ease when he runs into Adam, who is flattered that Kol is wearing a t-shirt he had given him earlier that day. It's a small gesture, but clearly Kol is embracing his attraction to Adam, and they leave the party together.

It's Adam's last night before he leaves for university, and it turns into the most passionate night of their lives. Cut to a decade later, and their lives have gone on separate tangents – but when Kol returns to Australia to attend Ebony's wedding, he ends up running into Adam at the airport and the pair pick up right where they left off... at least until they realize just how much life has gotten in the way. "Of An Age" is a romantic story of lifelong love and intimacy that becomes transformative for these boys, now grown into men.

The narrative implores one to ask how, if love feels right between two people, it can be wrong to pursue that passion, regardless of whatever consequences. The film ultimately ends up feeling rather lonely, although not tragic, which is often the trope found in gay-themed love stories, especially coming-of-age stories. This is a journey that does not lend one to optimism, but does open up the heart to hope.

"Of An Age" is in select theaters now.

by JC Alvarez

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".

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