Set in 1995, Dating Amber tells the story of Eddie (Fionn O’Shea), a young Irish teen who is struggling to come to grips with his closeted sexuality. Growing up in a home with a military father, expectations are high that Eddie will follow in his dad’s footsteps and join the military. However, Eddie’s life changes when he meets Amber (Lola Pettigrew), another gay youth who has yet to come out. Pressured by his peers to get involved sexually with the girls, Eddie suggests to Amber that they pretend to date in an effort to fit in with the other youth. While the ruse works at first, soon their desire to be themselves begins to cause tension and they must decide whether speaking the truth is worth the cost.
Written and directed by David Freyne (The Cured), Dating Amber is a fun coming-of-age story that entertains as much as it engages. With a sharp wit and strong sense of purpose, the film charms with its characters and humour yet neither does it shy away from the complexities of young hormones. Featuring a charismatic cast of youth, Amber pops with energy and life as it explores the challenges of adolescence and sexual exploration. Though their onscreen relationship may be fake, stars Fionn O’Shea and Lola Pettigrew have genuine chemistry together as they support and challenge one another throughout their emotional journey.
Endearing and poignant, Dating Amber is an loveable film about what happens when the innocence of youth collides with the harsh pressures of an unfeeling world. As Amber and Eddie grow more comfortable with themselves, the film serves as a reminder that, when we own who we are made to be, it enlivens the soul.
Dating Amber is currently streaming at the InsideOut Fest.