Dating Amber is a poignant, honest and funny look at the highs and lows of teenage life where the only way to fit in is to not be yourself, even if this goes against your very being. Screening in select cinemas from 8 July 2021, you'll find it at Melbourne's Cinema Nova and Perth's Luna Leederville & Luna on SX. It's written and directed by David Freyne and stars Fionn O'Shea as Eddie, Lola Pettigrew as Amber, Sharon Horgan and Barry Ward as Hannah and Ian, Eddie's parents and Simone Kirby as Jill, Amber's mum.
Set in Ireland during the mid-'90s, Eddie and Amber decide to stage a relationship in order to stop everyone from speculating about their sexuality. Eddie is set to follow his Dad into the military to make him proud, while Amber dreams of moving to the liberal hub of London. However as time goes on, their ideal arrangement begins to fall apart. Eddie acts out and goes deeper into denial, while Amber realises she needs to intervene to save her best friend from a future of complete misery. If you're from a small town and had to escape in order to truly be yourself, this is a love letter to you.
A coming of age film with a difference, it has all the charm of an Irish film set against the backdrop of life at high school in the small rural part of County Kildare. Eddie is in denial that he's gay and Amber doesn't want to break her widowed mother's heart and tell her she's a lesbian. The arrangement they agree upon sees them become best friends having each other's back. Dating Amber is a bittersweet story with very talented young actors who shine in their lead roles.
You know there's going to be quirky comedic moments when you see the trailer and it has a nun giving sex lessons. However, it has a good balance of comedy and emotional weight that'll tug at your heartstrings while it makes you laugh along the way. It dramatises the complex identity crises of Amber and Eddie and their threatened senses of self, and your heart can't help but go out to them watching them stifled by small-town mentality. This film is a winner overall, that'll appeal to teens as well as parents. It has a great supporting cast of accomplished performers in the form of the parents and adept newcomer Evan O'Connor as Jack, Eddie's younger brother who gets to spout the comedic lines while also given the chance to show his more serious side. It's a charming, very watchable film with a storyline that's a little more complex than your regular rom-com.