Stars and Director Discuss Of An Age, Their Must-See Gay Love Story
Feb 18, 2023
By the looks of it, Of An Age, from Australian writer/director Goran Stolevski (You Won’t Be Alone) emerges as one of the best indie films of 2023 thus far. What a moving tale of hope, love, and unrequited love this gem of film is. The movie, a dreamy love story set in the 1990s, takes its time telling its story and effectively captures how circumstance, time, and place all factor into to where fate—and ultimately our hearts—lead us. Fueled by the remarkable acting of Elias Anton and Thom Green, Of An Age is an LGBTQ experience to savor.
Set in a suburban Melbourne, Australia, here we find 18-year-old Kol (Anton) grappling to pick up his stranded dance partner/best friend Ebony (Hattie Hook) so they can be on time for an important recital. Ebony’s brother, Adam (Green), slightly older, wiser, and somebody who ultimately does not hide the fact that he’s gay, steps in, volunteering to drive Kol and fetch Ebony. What follows is a deeply moving road trip. This is a coming-of-age tale where vulnerability and discovering the truth about oneself vie for screen time. As the young men, get to know each other, neither of them can deny the rare emotional spark and romance that appears.
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The genesis of the project began when Stolevski read an unrelated story that was unrelated to the film’s premise. “At one point, a teenage boy goes to his first high school party, and I couldn’t get past that initial paragraph,” he said. “And just like that, all these feelings started flooding back—what it felt like inside of me at that time, my mindset, and that sense of what life was going to be like.
“I don’t really make films to capture moments of my life,” he went on. “So, this is not strictly an autobiographical film. I really just want to connect with other people on a very primal, basic level.”
Finding Emotional Depth
Thom Green, who makes a powerful and impactful return to the screen after starring in Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Camp, and the TV show, Dance Academy, told MovieWeb he was immediately taken in by Stolevski’s compelling script and how the story of two young men bonding eventually plays out. In fact, there are shades of Timothée Chalamet’s Call My by Your Name here, and even fans of more light-hearted fare like Love, Simon, or Bros, for that matter, will appreciate the connection these two main characters find.
“One of the biggest things that drew me to the project was Goran’s writing,” Green said. “I’m a huge fan of films where all the dialogue almost just comes out naturally. It doesn’t feel forced; it feels almost improvised. His writing was just so natural and real. I think he is a genius. I couldn’t say no.”
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As the script progressed, Stolevski had the idea of these two guys stuck in the car at a time and place when he was growing up. “I was struck by how these two young men were just forced to, kind of by circumstances, make conversation and connect with each other. I built the story around that and tried to find a way to make something that would be romantic, moving, or profound to someone; something that would connect with people on a universal level.”
Anton said that in his initial audition, he wasn’t handed the full script; that he was only given scenes that requested him as a certain “type” of actor.
“I didn’t have a very detailed brief, and I didn’t know a whole lot about the overall arc of the story, but just those scenes I was given… I truly found them to be very powerful,” he said. “Then, when I first met Goran and Thom for the chemistry read—everything was happening via Zoom at that point—I was sent the full script, and I felt how impactful the film was. I really resonated with it. And after speaking with Goran and understanding his intentions with the film, I felt it would be silly to miss out on something like this.”
A Powerful Love Story
Another interesting thing to note about the film is that it takes place in late 1990s, and in Australia. This was long before LGBTQI+ rights—and fighting for them more diligently—played out in culture.
Anton noted that stories like Of An Age are important to tell—and must be told. No matter what decade the story takes place. “Speaking broadly, in regard to just the sense of identity, I find that despite your sexual orientation, everyone has a sense of growing up and trying to find their place in the world and discovering who they really are. They just want to find themselves. I’m still in my mid-twenties, and there’s a bit of that in my life. I found the film very relatable and working alongside Thom was unique—he’s a very giving as an actor.”
Stolevski said prior to casting, he was searching for “emotional openness” with his actors. “I find a lot of actors, especially with younger actors, the ‘selfie face’ comes on. It’s about trying to look and sound cool or interesting. They imagine what they’re going to look like on screen. And it never quite works that way like.”
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Of An Age, he added, is a movie that’s more about the hidden class and moments of “electricity,” “When Elias Anton came through, he looked and sounded nothing like what I envisioned when I wrote the part, but that kind of hypnotized me. His feelings were flowing out kind of unguarded. And he wasn’t even conscious of it. So, there’s a personal attention that was given to that character, and some of it comes through, but most of it was genuinely him, as an actor, being a very open person.”
As the film heads into its final act—the movie is mindfully given two parts where things play out—Kol and Adam cannot deny the feelings that have emerged between them. Stolevski does a stellar job of keeping things grounded here, amidst several emotionally intense scenes. Ultimately, Of An Age manages to get inside you and really take hold.
Green also believes the film has a lot to say about connection and the surprise of emerging feelings. “After speaking with people who have seen it, I think it allows people to feel seen and heard. There are so many people who keep a lot to themselves out of fear. I really hope this story garners a lot more visibility on a grand scale. It’s important to tell these stories because people really want to feel like they belong somewhere.”
Of An Age, from Focus Features, opens in theaters on Feb. 17.
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