Adam and…Nikola: Our Review of ‘Of An Age’

Posted in Theatrical by - February 17, 2023
Adam and…Nikola: Our Review of ‘Of An Age’

Viewers have an expectation that the leading couple in a romantic film need to consummate their love. This is true regardless of whether those protagonists are queer or straight. Or maybe that’s untrue, maybe the film needs to justify the consummation and anything else that comes after and around that. The ‘around that’ aspect is important in Goran Stolevski’s film Of An Age, which follows characters in Melbourne, two of whom have a complex romance.

in 1999, Nikola (Elias Anton) is a teen Balkan-Australian and an aspiring dancer. His dance partner, Ebony (Hattie Hook) is stuck somewhere. His only way to rescue her is with her brother Adam (Thom Green), and they build a special connection. The film’s third act jumps to 2010, when both Nikola and Adam fly back to Melbourne for Ebony’s wedding to Jacob (Toby Derrick). Her philandering nature feels more like a B-plot to Nikola and Adam’s story.

Of An Age depicts two separate nights and days and many emotions. The film starts with two of the characters yelling at each other, and watching that can make viewers feel like consummation is a faraway concern. The viewer’s immediate concern is when is the film going to mellow after this off putting high. We feel these highs when the younger version of Ebony is on screen, and my repulsion towards the younger Ebony is probably a me problem.

Yes, it is problematic to have a revolting reaction to a female character. Again, Of An Age is better when the younger version isn’t around. Much of the film’s first two acts feel intimate. This is to say that it uses a lot of close-ups feel male gaze-y. The camerawork on Nikola and Adam isn’t for everyone. But it’s nice to see how the film shows them as both ideal and regular.

There are different positive and negative factors that come into play when Of An Age jumps into its third act. The close-ups are still there, as well as the full screen ratio that signals nostalgia. On the one hand, Ebony becomes a more mature version of herself although she’s the kind of character who weaponizes toxic positivity. On the other hand, Nikola hears of Adam’s marriage and his immature reaction towards that tiptoes towards incredulity.

Thankfully, Of An Age ends by using the atmosphere when it is at its best. It does spend most of its time asking whether or not Nikola and Adam act on their desires. And we return at consummation, because the fact that the film cares a lot about what happens both before and after that consummation shows a sense of smarts. That it’s at least expanding on the expectations that viewers have when they’re watching two people maybe fall in love. What we see feels real enough.

Of An Age hits Canadian theatres on February 17.

  • Release Date: 2/17/2023
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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