DATING AMBER (15)
DATING AMBER (15)
Director: David Freyne
CAST: Fionn O’Shea, Lola Petticrew, Sharon Horgan, Barry Ward, Lauryn Canny, Simone Kirby, Emma Willis, Arian Nik, Ally Ni Chiarain, Corey Millar
Synopsis: ‘Dating Amber’ is a poignant yet hilarious look at the highs and lows of teenage life where the only way to fit in is to not be yourself. Set in Ireland during the mid-90’s, two closeted teenagers, Eddie and Amber, decide to stage a relationship in order to stop everyone speculating about their sexuality.
Director/writer David Freyne [The Cured (2017)] brings us this beautifully warm and witty coming of age story of two young Irish teenagers on an emotional journey filled with laughter. In rural Kildare, on the brink of leaving school, Eddie [Fionn O’Shea – Normal People (BBC TV, 2020); Handsome Devil (2016)] is keen to follow his Dad into the military, while Amber [Lola Petticrew – A Bump along the Way (2019)] dreams of moving to liberal London. However, their ‘ideal’ arrangement – to disguise their sexuality – begins to fall apart, forcing Eddie deeper into denial as Amber realises that a perilous future awaits her best friend unless she intervenes.
Dating Amber is a love letter to all those kids who grew up in a small town and who needed to escape in order to be themselves. With its 1995 setting, it contains multiple ’90s cultural references, such as characters wearing Féile t-shirts, a terrific soundtrack of Pulp songs and ‘Blur versus Oasis’ arguments.
Socio-political relevance is established by Freyne setting his film in this era, as Ireland had only legalised homosexuality in 1993 and Eddie and Amber are still nervous about accepting and embracing their sexualities. Eddie is determined to follow his father in joining the army, and the masculine archetype he has chosen creates inner turmoil. Amber is presented as a punkish character who wants to open an anarchist bookshop franchise and is loud and proud about most things – but not about her sexuality. The film features the 1995 divorce referendum and its potential influence on Eddie’s bickering parents (Sharon Horgan and Barry Ward), and on Eddie’s ‘Vote No’ canvassing brother.
With echoes of John Butler’s Handsome Devil (2016), Dating Amber reinvigorates the coming of age genre with its important takes on friendship. With superb performances from the ensemble cast, it is an ideal choice for June’s LGBT+ PRIDE month.
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video
Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video