Affection is pretty confusing. The particular person, habits or orientation we fall in love with, is based on chemical reactions inside our body. Do those reactions segregate on the basis of men or women or someone much more different? Feelings are feelings, and very complicated. Once it takes over your body, there is hardly any way back to normal. The confusion hits us, once we attain puberty and it’s a complex journey from thereon. One such journey is depicted in Dating Amber, a coming of age story about a boy and a girl, Eddie and Amber. But don’t confuse, they aren’t in love with each other, they just pretend to be, for their classmates.
Written and Directed by David Freyne, it narrates the story of two confused teenagers, whose natural attraction doesn’t lie in the opposite sex but in a similar one. Being born in an orthodox Irish Community in the year 1995 when Homosexuality was still considered vile, these two teenagers coin a fake relationship to trick their parents, classmates and all other beings that they are pretty normal, they are normal in actual, just the society isn’t ready to accept it. It is their story against the world.
Dating Amber embeds two prominent characters 17-year-old Eddie (O’Shea) and his classmate Amber (Petticrew). Though the title suggests that it could be the story of Amber, Eddie plays an equally important part. Following the family legacy, Eddie’s dad, Ian (Barry Ward) wants him to join the Irish Army, but a look at Eddie would give you enough reasons on why he shouldn’t consider the profession. Everyone agrees to it, except Eddie’s dad which leads to a subplot of toxic masculinity in Eddie’s life inflicted by his father.
Eddie is not only struggling in the training to join the army school but also suffers from an alienated environment in the school, where everyone is hooking up with each other or is dating someone, except Eddie and Amber.
Amber is another outcast in the college with a dead dad and a widowed mother. Amber rents her Living Fan to needy and horny students of her class. Amber wants to save enough money to run away from a pathetic town to London where she can open her bookshop with franchise potential.
While both Eddie and Amber are completely different with different sets of goals, their homosexuality is the common tangent. Amber is quite clear about it, but Eddie is confused. Constant bullying, curses and ignorance at school, leads to Eddie and Amber association to fake a relationship in front of family and friends until they leave this orthodox backward town.
This leads to a fun ride in which both these individuals start a “Pretend Relationship” and become the talk of the school until Amber finally decides to be open about her sexuality while Eddie is still in denial. What Eddie chooses to be, and how Amber is going to help him, is what the plot explores further.
Dating Amber is a sweet small-town story, about a primitive world, still imposing their opinions and hating the unusual. They don’t mind calling homosexuals, faggots and they are loud and irritating. Eddie and Amber, suffering from an identity crisis of their own, are pushed more by regressive minds, that leads them to find peace in lie and deceit. Amber justifies it saying, “we will pretend to go out just to get everyone to leave us alone.” Though when Amber is fed up of pretending, as most of us get, she reveals to the world her true identity, that leaves Eddie at crossroads to make a choice, be open about being gay or being in denial forever.
We only lie because we haven’t been given enough space to speak the truth, is what exactly happens with Amber and Eddie. Still, how they deal with the world, for whom anything unusual seems dangerous, is what decides their journey and gives strength to their character.
Dating Amber, a teenage love story doesn’t work intensively on the conflicts it promises, like Eddie’s dad and his toxic masculinity, Amber’s mother and her trauma, and Eddie’s parents drifting apart. Much of these subplots are left halfway through that is one of the flaws of the script. It does justice to Amber and Eddie’s character like any other coming of age story, that is outward without much depth. Yet, it is an easy watch movie with a couple of sweet moments and occasional chucks, originating from Amber’s witty character. She is fun to watch throughout. Anyone looking for light teenage drama should check this out, it won’t disappoint you much.
Dating Amber is streaming on Amazon Prime Video (For UK Region only).
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