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Of an Age
An Australian filmmaker named Goran Stolevski, who began his career making short films, absolutely knocks it out of the park as the director, writer, and editor of his second feature length film called Of an Age, a sweet, sad, and tasteful romantic drama that tells a story with leisure without challenging viewer attention spans and is so good that I would have awarded it a 2022 Best Picture Oscar nomination over Triangle of Sadness.

The film opens in 1999, introducing us to Kol, a 17 year old guy preparing to enter the finals of a ballroom dancing contest with his BFF Ebony who is taken by surprise when he finds himself attracted to Ebony's older brother, Adam.

I absolutely loved this movie because Stolevski's screenplay doesn't play all of its cards at once and allows the audience to do a little work where figuring out what is going on here is concerned. He also allows his camera to be the primary storytelling tool here. Our first glimpse of Kol finds him dancing bare-chested in front of a mirror. A couple of scenes later, a stranger to Kol describes as being gay to someone over the phone, which prompts an immediate reply from Kol: "I'm not really gay." With the insertion of the word "really" into that line, Stolevski gives us Kol's backstory. We immediately know that Kol is either bisexual, in the closet, bi-curious, or questioning his sexuality. With one word in the screenplay, Stolevski takes about twenty minutes off the running time.

The most fascinating aspect of the story is the very slow dance to a possible romance that follows. Stolevski takes an unconventional route with this by placing Kol and Adam in a car during their first scene alone, limiting what can happen between them and letting the camera tell the story as it takes turn playing Adam and Kol's eyes, surveying each other physically, all the while engaged in polite conversation. There's a fantastic scene where Kol and Adam are in Adam's bedroom and Kol is changing his shirt because he spilled something on it. As Kol dresses and undresses we can see, without the use of any dialogue, how much these two want each other, but they both want the other to make the first move.

I love that the first physical contact between Kol and Adam is a lovingly photographed handshake and when they do finally have sex, Stolevski once again places them inside a vehicle, leaving a lot to viewer imagination. We are shocked that, after one encounter, they are separated like ships in the night. What we don't see coming is reunion 11 years later and even that doesn't go as we hoped. Did love that after 11 years, Kol returns to the story as an out and proud gay man. There is a touch ambiguity to the ending, but it just adds an extra layer of richness to what we've already seen.

Stolevski has a richly imaginative and erotic camera eye that provides romance with taste and never crosses the line into exploitation and never gives us stereotypical gay behavior from Kol and Adam, making this story accessible to a heterosexual audience with an open mind. Elias Anton and Thom Green create a magical chemistry as Kol and Adam, respectively, that help to make this one of the best movies of 2022 that nobody saw.