Monday, November 16, 2020

Dating Amber Review: A Quirky, Funny, and Heartfelt Queer Coming of Age Film

Fionn O'Shea	...	Eddie Lola Petticrew	Lola Petticrew	...	Amber Sharon Horgan	Sharon Horgan	...	Hannah Barry Ward	Barry Ward	...	Ian Simone Kirby	Simone Kirby	...	Jill Evan O'Connor	Evan O'Connor	...	Jack Ian O'Reilly	Ian O'Reilly	...	Kev Emma Willis	Emma Willis	...	Tracey Anastasia Blake	Anastasia Blake	...	Janet Lauryn Canny	Lauryn Canny	...	Sarah Shaun Dunne	Shaun Dunne	...	Cian Adam Carolan	Adam Carolan	...	Geoff Peter Campion	Peter Campion	...	Sweeney Ally Ni Chiarain	Ally Ni Chiarain	...	The Nun Tara Flynn	Tara Flynn	...	Reporter

Release date: November 10, 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Starring: Fionn O'Shea, Lola Petticrew, Sharon Horgan 
Written and Directed By: David Freyne

A closeted gay teen and his lesbian counterpart pretend to be a couple to avoid suspicion.  Eddie (O'Shea) is trying to live in his father's military shadow, hoping to follow in his footsteps while avoiding his own desires.  And in order to avoid suspicion and harassment about his lack of a love life, he starts "dating" Amber (Petticrew), a lesbian who is less closeted but also trying to grow into her personality and dreams.  Together, the two embark on a fake relationship that will help them discover themselves.  

Jean-Louis Billard	...	Visual Effects Producer David Claikens	...	associate producer Will Clarke	...	executive producer Rory Dungan	...	executive producer David Freyne	...	executive producer John Keville	...	producer Philippe Logie	...	associate producer Andy Mayson	...	executive producer Ivan McMahon	...	line producer Rachael O'Kane	...	producer Dearbhla Regan	...	executive producer Benoit Roland	...	co-producer Mike Runagall	...	executive producer Alex Verbaere	...	associate producer    Director - David Freyne
Dating Amber has a wonderful charm and muted style.  The film takes place in a small town in Ireland where being different is frowned upon, and being queer will make you a social pariah.  Additionally, Eddie's parents are supportive, but his dad is oblivious and his mom is loving, but not outspoken about her son's clear homosexual tendencies.  This leads to a character who is trying to fit his square personality into a round hole, and dealing with the pain that shaving off those corners and denying their existance will do.  The characters are really fantastic in this movie.  O'Shea is absolutely wonderful and believable as Eddie, and it was interesting to see a character who is so clearly queer but trying to deny it to himself.  The internal struggle that Eddie goes through leads to some laughs, some tears, and some very dramatic scenes as he comes to grips with himself and his place in the world.  And that is helped along by Petticrew's amazing performance as Amber.  Whereas Eddie is denying who he is, Amber is more sure of herself and where she wants to go.  But together, the two find the comfort and companionship that they have both been looking for but not finding in their small town.  And they also are able to grow together.  The movie has really fantastic, heartfelt acting with characters that truly feel like awkward teens growing into their own.

Dating Amber not only has fantastic characters, it has a wonderfully written story.  The writing is clever and sharp, with plenty of callbacks to old ideas of sexuality and love.  There are some really amazing scenes, including a vintage sex education video that, according to writer and director David Freyne, was a reproduction of something that he was shown as a kid.  The lines are pointed with plenty of humor and heart, and help move this story along.  And the whole film has a wonderful, muted style that is perfect for this film.  Everything is a little drab, except for certain scenes that really help to emphasize the way that neither Eddie or Amber fit into this world.  And the use of colors is perfect, with certain characters wearing clothes that definitely clash with the general monotony of the small town.  Dating Amber also has a wonderfully funny take on the high school experience, with a certain sense of cynical humor that shines through.  Eddie and Amber's journey of discovery and growth is an innocent and charming one, and you can see their natural chemistry shine through in this film.  And when the film tries to tackle the two finding themselves and becoming confident in who they are, the movie stretches its dramatic chops.  When the story goes that way, the film showcases some serious drama and heart as the two painfully discover who they are and what they really want.  

Dating Amber is a quirky, funny, and heartfelt story of love, sexuality, and identity that puts a new twist on the queer coming of age tale.

Watch it.

Teenage Drama Queer Gay Lesbian LGBT LGBTQ Coming of Age Ireland Irish
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Dating Amber is available digitally and on demand November 10, 2020.

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