‘Of an Age’: You never forget your first time


(2.5 stars)

“Of an Age” is defined by the performance of Elias Anton: a tour de force of acting that, despite the film’s title, bookends a gap of 11 years in which Anton’s character — an amateur ballroom dancer named Kol — ages off-screen from an awkward, skinny, pimply-faced almost-19-year-old into a confident, noticeably more solid 30-year-old man. It’s a remarkable physical transformation for the 24-year-old Australian, but also a remarkable double performance on an emotional level, delivered in two otherwise slender chapters.

The first part is set in 1999, with the looming threat of the Y2K bug referenced in passing. Two hours before a big dance contest, Kol gets a call from his best friend and dance partner, Ebony (Hattie Hook), who has woken up on a distant beach with a post-drug hangover, and who needs to be picked up and driven to the competition. For this emergency mission, told via shaky, handheld camera and Aussie-accented dialogue that is sometimes hard to understand, Kol enlists the aid of Ebony’s older brother, Adam (an appealing Thom Green), a 20-something linguist who is about to leave town in pursuit of his PhD. Most of the action takes place during the car ride and consists of naturalistic banter between the two, which becomes flirtier and flirtier, ending in a one-night stand — and a sexual awakening for the closeted Kol. Adam, for his part, has just broken up with a boyfriend.

The tryst is, however, more than a mere deflowering in this sparely told yet lushly romantic tale by Goran Stolevski, delivering his follow-up to the writer-director’s impressive folk-horror debut last year, “You Won’t Be Alone.”

For Kol, apparently, time froze after that encounter, and when the story picks up in 2010, just after the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull and on the occasion of Ebony’s wedding, the two characters are reuniting for the first time since that 1999 night. It’s by no means incidental that the eruption — which disrupted global travel for months — forms the backdrop to this second chapter. For Stolevski, the event serves as a metaphor of sorts for Kol’s long-dormant passion, which comes billowing up when he sees Adam (who is now married) again.

There isn’t much more to the story, at least not in narrative terms. But Anton conveys a deep well of unrequited longing that is so powerful, it doesn’t really need storytelling gimmicks. Setting these two chapters against momentous world events — the turning of the millennium, then a cataclysmic natural disaster — only makes redundant what is already obvious from Anton’s ardent performance: Sometime we never, ever get over the first time.

R. At area theaters. Contains coarse language throughout, sexuality and some drug use. 114 minutes.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *