Eddie and Amber are suffering through their final year of secondary school. Both are closeted, but their classmates notice that neither seems particularly interested in the opposite sex. Amber is met with daily jeers, while Eddie is pressured to make sexual advances towards girls. Amber and Eddie decide to be each other’s beards in order to make their final year more tolerable. While they create their fake romantic relationship, a real friendship grows between them. Their platonic relationship is at the heart of Dating Amber.
Amber knows she is a lesbian and has been steadily saving money so she can move to London after graduation and life a properly bohemian lifestyle. She is determined to leave the close-minded environment that she believes contributed to her father’s suicide.
Eddie can’t admit that he is gay. He expects to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the military, even though he seems plainly unsuited to military life. Scenes of lanky Eddie attempting to perform a single chin-up provide a good laugh.
Being “out and proud” in their Irish hometown is simply not an option. Will Amber and Eddie find the means, and the courage, to live as their true selves?
The Technical Side
Watching this movie felt like opening a time capsule, and I mean that in the best way. The production quality was excellent. Scenes were filmed in multiple locations, and the costumes were undeniably on point. Its 92 minute length was just right.
My Favourite Parts
Dating Amber expertly captures the mid-90s. Amber dreams of working for a “zine” and argues about the supremacy of Bikini Kill, both perfect lesbian signifiers for the time.
The acting here is top notch. Fionn O’Shea is wonderfully vulnerable as Eddie, and Lola Petticrew brings a world-wise presence to Amber. They complement each other beautifully. Sharon Horgan is excellent, as always, in her role as Eddie’s mother.
This is a love story to friendship, to youthful discovery, and to finding the courage to live authentically. As someone who was a closeted teen at this time, I felt so much love for both characters, but particularly for Eddie. At times it was painful to watch him struggle and lash out, but it also rang true.
Although teen coming out stories are no longer groundbreaking, this one is masterfully portrayed. Check out Dating Amber if you are interested in a ‘90s flashback that is funny, tender, and moving.
Where To Watch Dating Amber
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Bits and Bobs
- Director: David Freyne
- Producers: David Freyne et al.
- Writers: David Freyne
- Actors: Fionn O’Shea, Lola Petticrew, Sharon Horgan
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