Published on July 6th, 2021 | by Chris O'Connor
Dating Amber Review
Summary: Two teenagers agree to "date" each other to avoid everyone questioning their sexuality. But their arrangement begins to form cracks and the two risk loosing more than they realise.
Coming (out) of Age
I was drawn to this movie because it is made in Ireland… then I read what it was actually about and my interest was piqued further. It wasn’t until I was a little way into the movie that it clicked… this is set more or less the same time I was finishing high school (off by a year… but close enough). As the film progressed I felt even more connected than I was perhaps expecting and that no doubt influences my opinion of the film… but having said that.
The film centers around Eddie and Amber both gay but closeted. They attend a school in which it would seem all their classmates are completely preoccupied with sex… so when Eddie tries to “fit in”, things don’t go so well and rumours begin spreading. Amber doesn’t fit in with the other girls to begin with and realises that she and Eddie might be able to help each other by pretending to date with the hope this will stop everyone else questioning their sexuality. At first this seems to work wonders, but as time goes on Eddie sinks deeper into denial while Amber begins to realise that her best friend is spiraling towards a dangerous future unless she can do something to save him.
I have to say first off… what a fantastic cast! There are no poor performances here, everyone is engaging from the get go and the two leads Fionn O’Shea and Lola Petticrew do a fantastic job conveying all the angst of teenage life coupled with being gay in a small town where everyone knows everyone. The editing and pacing in general are also fantastic… this is brought home to me all the more after watching some other films recently that whilst decent enough in story… just lacked the right rhythm… but Dating Amber hits every beat and hits it well.
There are some lovely elements of the story that are left hinting at things but not going into detail. There’s a specific scene quite late in the film involving Eddie’s mother that in and of itself is quite authentic… but the flow on of that scene is left somewhat open ended… but in a nice way that helps to give hope (which is arguably important given the context). I was teary enough at various moments throughout the film but right near the end is a line that has such a pay off that I was quite openly sobbing and really felt proud of all of those behind the film for the build up to and deliver of that scene.
As a result of watching this film I wrote to a friend I had in highschool who let me be me and I perhaps didn’t realise just how important that was at the time… but I like to let people know when they have made a difference. As someone who fits on that LGBTIQA+ rainbow… I think this film may have landed more squarely than it might with some audiences, but I think it’s equally important for all audiences to view as it does a great job of showing just how much inner turmoil people go through simply because they feel society doesn’t accept them.
I received this as a digital screener but it’s the first time in a while that I have felt compelled to keep my eye open for when this becomes available to own because I just want to watch it again and again. Fantastic cast, lovely heartfelt story that rings true. A definite must watch!