Film review: Of an Age is a beautifully crafted film, powered by a magnetic romance

When we spend so much time consuming global entertainment, it feels extra special to watch a beautifully told Australian story—a film that’s rich with nostalgia yet doesn’t shy away from truth. Of an Age is a stirring, gorgeously filmed queer romance, set in Melbourne during 1999. The movie follows 18-year-old amateur ballroom dancer Kol (Elias Anton) during a particularly chaotic and surprising day, where he meets—and eventually has a romance with—his friend’s older brother Adam (Thom Green). Later, we meet them both again in 2010, and see where life has taken them.

Of an Age is the perfect name to encapsulate this film, as it explores coming of age, the effects of aging, and a particular age in Australia—the 90’s. Even before the romance is introduced, the deep nostalgia created through grainy shots of red-brick suburbia, familiarly crude language, and classic Australian scenes (like fish and chips in a fluorescent-lit mall) is enough to move you. Thankfully, all of the now out-dated elements (payphones, dial-up internet, landlines, map books) don’t give the impression of forced nostalgia; instead they craft an immersive snapshot of a different time.

But it’s the romance between Kol and Adam that makes this film so beautiful. A connection which builds flawlessly throughout the movie, fuelled by electric chemistry between the actors. Anton and Green give incredible, moving performances, with every emotion expressed subtly yet felt deeply. Anton is particularly impressive, perfectly communicating the complexities of a character who is coming of age and finding himself, while dealing with extensive casual (and often direct) racism and homophobia. 

Even though the relationship between Kol and Adam unfolds over a day, it still feels true. Slowly, more is revealed about each character, and your investment in their romance grows with every word. Kol and Adam’s connection is built through brilliantly written, witty banter, as they drive to rescue Ebony (Kol’s friend and Adam’s sister, played by an hilarious Hattie Hook) when she wakes up on a random beach after a night out. These car conversations are the stand-out scenes of the film. 

Like most truly moving love stories, Of an Age almost inevitably breaks your heart. And as a film rooted in realism, it had to. The part set in 1999 ended on a particularly gut-wrenching note, but as we moved into the last (and shortest) section, set in 2010, the more modern part of the film didn’t have as much impact. Although it was necessary to round out the storyline with this insight into the future, the scenes felt less sincere and the older versions of the characters didn’t have enough time to develop—that said it did give the ending more depth.

Despite this, Of an Age is still the epitome of what a romantic movie can be. A couple with such magnetic chemistry that it’s impossible to look away, a heartbreak that feels real and personal, and an ending that somehow leaves you with hope. 


Of an Age is in Australian cinemas from 23 March.