Eddie (Fionn O’Shea) and Amber (Lola Petticrew) are both gay teenagers, obviously. Growing up in the closet is as tough enough as it is, but it’s much worse going through that during the 90s in rural Ireland. So Amber proposed that she and Eddie pretend to be each other’s beards. This light comedy, then, is a good showcase for the two characters to tell each other that they have to be better at playing straight. It’s also about the two learning to be more truthful about what they feel to whom, especially since Eddie is more closeted than Amber is.
Amber and Eddie are also taking their charade to the latter’s parents (Sharon Horgan and Barry Ward). And the parents’ presence in the film reminds them that they’re not missing anything by being gay. The charade also gives Amber some leverage, convincing him to explore Dublin’s gay scene. Amber makes for the more interesting character, with Petticrew showing off her skills in one liners and physical comedy. It’s harder to make Eddie’s character more interesting because he’s repressed and a bit whiny. Some of his lines have him reminding Amber of the latter’s own strict mother Jill (Simone Kirby).
Gay comedic dramas have their share of tropes, and Dating Amber has the fallout scenes when two friends find their seemingly irreconcilable differences. But the film uses those tropes as a part of a tapestry where two people are trying to discover themselves. That self discover takes place in a community with its contradictory gender norms. It also depicts that community beautifully. Usually, teen comedies are insular, but this film shows, validly, that personal school dramas have ramifications in the students’ home lives. And most of this, again, takes place in rural Ireland, which director David Freyne shoots with love.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
- Release Date: 10/1/2020
- Directed by: David Freyne
- Starring: Barry Ward, Fionn O'Shea, Lola Petticrew, Sharon Horgan
- Produced by: John Keville, Rachael O'Kane
- Written by: David Freyne
- Studio: Atomic 80
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