Film Review – Dating Amber

Dating Amber (M)

Directed by: David Freyne

Starring: Fionn O’Shea, Lola Petticrew, Sharon Horgan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

Dating Amber is an affectionate look at the special bond that develops between two closeted gay teenagers as they come to terms with their sexuality and place in the world.

In a country town in Ireland during the 1990s, Eddie (Fionn O’Shea) and Amber (Lola Petticrew) are discovering that they are not quite like their fellow schoolmates.

Amber fancies girls and wants to leave the conservative town to live in London, meanwhile Eddie is preparing for the Army to follow in his father’s footsteps, but the posters of muscled army men on his bedroom wall are not there for inspiration.

To avoid being bullied and labelled gay and lesbian by their sexed up heterosexual classmates, the two fake a relationship until school finishes, but the longer they carry on the charade, the more Amber begins to feel comfortable in her own skin and Eddie retreats even further from coming to terms with his own sexuality.

Dating Amber is a fun twist on the teen rom-com/coming of age genre that not only nails so many details and observations on teenage and high school life, but specifically experiences of closeted teenagers. It covers queer themes so rarely tackled for the teenage audience and this visibility is very welcome on the big screen.

Writer/director David Freyne has drawn from his own experiences and which injects the film with a sense of authenticity when it comes to the trials and tribulations of closeted teenagers. He has drawn a pair of loveable characters and O’Shaw and Petticrew bring them effortlessly to life.

Though plenty of Dating Amber rings true, it does tend to favour comedy over the drama, which sometimes results in opportunities missed to dig a little deeper into the psyche of these two appealing main characters. We get plenty of hilarious situations, scenarios and banter, but Dating Amber can sometimes come off as a surface level look at the gay teenager coming of age experience.

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