director: David Freyne (cured)
starring: lola petticrew, fionn o'shea, sharon hogan and lauryn canny
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Two school friends decide to start a pretend straight relationship in an effort to fit in.
Set-in Ireland during the mid-90’s, Eddie and Amber decide to stage a relationship in order to stop everyone speculating about their sexuality. Eddie is keen to follow his Dad into the military, while Amber dreams of moving to the liberal hub of London.
However, their ‘ideal’ arrangement begins to fall apart, forcing Eddie deeper into denial as Amber realises that a perilous future awaits her best friend unless she intervenes.
A darling of the NZ British Film Festival, Dating Amber has now, quite deservingly, been given a general release. Narratively Dating Amber plays broadly like an anti-rom com, two people pulled together not by love but platonically by the heart breaking oppression of their environment to be who they really, truly are.
But within that situation the true gold lies within this narrative. Eddie and Amber, each in their own way, discover what they will do with their sexuality. While Amber begins to embrace hers, Eddie on the other hand retreats from his, attempting to fulfil some of the negative stereotypes that plague and assault the idea of being a man.
There is of course the ‘couple montage’ as we discover Amber and Eddie’s platonic relationship and there is classic British comedy to be found here from the awkwardness of a first kiss to the cringe worthy but absolutely hilarious sex ed video shown in the class that is hosted by a very holy nun.
Lola Petticrew and Fionn O’Shea are a magnificent double act, whimsically and in equal parts painfully capturing the joys and challenges that their sexuality, in their context, makes them face.
A unique, hilarious and poignant coming of age tale, Dating Amber is a film not to be missed.