Starring: Fionn O’Shea, Lola Petticrew, Sharon Horgan
Director: David Freyne
Running Time: 92 mins
Dating Amber is an Irish film about a gay teenage boy and girl who enter into a fake relationship with each other to try and fit in at school.
With heartfelt and honest coming-of-age drama and great wit and humour throughout, Dating Amber is a really lovely watch, and tells the story of two young people trying to find space in the world to be themselves in wonderful fashion.
At times, the film may feel reminiscent of other understated coming-of-age/young romance films like Submarine and Sing Street, but as the story unfolds here, it becomes clear that this is something very different.
Far from a typical romance, Dating Amber looks at the thoughts and dreams of two individuals who are united by their common situation at school. They’re both secretly gay, but can’t live to face the mockery from their classmates if they are revealed as such, so they fake a relationship with one another to give them the space they need to be themselves.
And that’s what I really liked about this film. It’s an honest look at how real people negotiate the unfortunate reality of facing derision for who they are. Ultimately, it’s as passionate and open as any film, but the understated and reserved way in which its characters go about their lives is unique and memorable.
Couple that with heartfelt, honest drama with consistently enjoyable humour and moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity, and Dating Amber proves an enormously entertaining watch. It’s quirky, but not to a point of sheer strangeness (like Submarine). However, it’s just offbeat enough to stand out on its own, and it’s a delight to watch throughout as a result.
Overall, I really liked Dating Amber. It’s an enjoyable, heartfelt and honest watch that tackles coming-of-age drama and unfortunate discrimination with a unique and memorable mindset. At times, it’s a lovely joy to watch, and at others, it’s a sobering and touching tale of two young people trying to live their lives the way they want to. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.