Like most people, after being on the Normal People bandwagon, I’ve been searching for a cute, cliché romance story to fill the empty hole in my heart. Dating Amber did just this.
Dating Amber is an Irish, coming-of-age narrative that follows two closeted teens (Amber and Eddie) who pretend to be in love so to fit in with the societal norm. It’s a film that doesn’t just explore the relationship between the two characters but explores identity and learning to accept ones sense of self in an environment that is full of taunting bullies, homophobia and sex education videos involving nuns.
Eddie is expected to go into the army, to fine-tune his masculinity. Amber, on the other hand, helps her mum run a caravan park, renting out vans by the hour to her school friends to have sex in. Eddie’s character particularly is filled with sadness that I found myself yearning for some happiness for him, for a happy ending. And while he gets it in the end, the journey to it is heart-breaking. Amber, on the other hand, is the heart of the film, shifting from comedy to drama throughout. She’s an explosion of life and adventure, taking Eddie to a drag show at one point. Their chemistry is brilliant, bringing to life the adventures of two friends and their characters.
The film also excellently blends together wit and melancholy as in the first half you’re laughing at the lines of dialogue (“I want pussy and you want cock it’s a fundamental obstacle!” was comedy genius) but by the second half, you’re trying not to cry as heartbreak kicks in as the difficulties come tenfold. It’s a life-affirming, hopeful film that has the right amount of angsty queer experience so you don’t find yourself getting bored.Also, Amber’s dreams of becoming an anarchist bookshop owner with potential to become a franchise? I related to that on another level.
Having elements of Love, Simon, Sex Education and Call Me By Your Name in it, Dating Amber finds its place amongst the other Awkward Teenager Coming-of-age canon while exploring the fake dating trope in a new, more specific, deeper and braver outlook. Dating Amber is funny, sweet and overall just super easy to watch, I thoroughly enjoyed it.