Set in North Melbourne during the summer of 1999, Of An Age is a romantic drama that follows an 18-year-old Serbian immigrant Kol (Elias Anton) who is prepping for the Australian Dance finals when he receives a distress call from his dance partner, Ebony (Hattie Hook), who has woken up on an unfamiliar beach after a big night out.
With the help of Ebony’s older brother, Adam (Thom Green), they attempt to make it to the finals on time but when Kol and Adam get stuck in summer traffic, they begin to realize they have more in common than they first thought. Over the course of the next 24 hours, an unexpected and intense romance blossoms. A decade later the pair meet for a bittersweet reunion.
The film, written and directed by Goran Stolevski, has already received praise for its moving romantic queer narrative and will open in theaters nationwide on February 17th. With its 24-hour storytelling method, it is cut from the same cloth as other romantic dramas, both queer and not including Andrew Haigh’s Weekend and Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise trilogy. More than that, Of An Age continues Focus Features’ legacy of prestige queer cinema that includes Todd Haynes’s From From Heaven (2002), Gus Van Sant’s Milk (2008), Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right (2010), Dee Rees’s Pariah (2011), Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased (2018) and, of course, Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2005).
“My life and brain shifted because of [Brokeback Mountain],” Solevski told GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos in a recent interview. “Even before that, Todd Haynes and Julianne Moore was so important to me growing up… I remember sneaking out of high school to go see Far from Heaven because I was desperate.”
Of An Age comes from an unrelated story that Stolevski read about a high school boy going to his first ever party – and that stuck with him. He connected to this character living in the suburbs going to a very generic suburban high school party.
“There’s a special kind of loneliness you experience as a gay kid in the suburbs when you don’t even have a phone or anything,” said Stolevski. He added that, for many people, queer stories like Of An Age only happen on film and TV and not in their day-to-day life.
Stolevski thinks about this loneliness and puts it in the context of who he became later on life with Of An Age. “I was quite different from Kol and everyone connects me to him a lot more than Adam, even though it’s incorrect,” he said. “I’m different [because] in my final year of high school, I was very out and militantly queer.”
Stolevski admits that he was in deep denial about being gay for a while. Growing up in an immigrant working class family, he said he internalized his queerness. “By the time I realized I was gay, I was very open to it,” he said. “It was almost something fun… I [felt] improved because it was something exciting happening in my world.”
“Of An Age” is in theaters February 17.