Dating Amber – love will find a way in this wonderful Irish coming of age story
Set-in Ireland during the mid-90’s, ‘Eddie’ and ‘Amber’ are in the closet about their sexuality and decide to stage a relationship to stop everyone speculating. Eddie is determined to follow in his father’s footsteps and enlist in the military after graduation. Amber has her sights set on moving to London. Dreams are good, but dreams don’t help in the schoolyard when you’re being teased and accused of being gay. And so the two friends hatch the perfect plan: to be each other’s beards, posing as high school sweethearts to deflect further speculation. The plan seems solid, but as their arrangement begins to fall apart, Eddie’s denial grows deeper as Amber realizes that a perilous future awaits her best friend unless she intervenes.
Fionn O’Shea (Handsome Devil, Normal People) and newcomer Lola Petticrew deliver wonderful performances in this gentle, bittersweet Irish charmer that quickly became the quarantine summer sleeper hit across the UK this past summer.
Samuel Goldwyn Pictures will release the film in the US on Digital and VOD on November 13th.
DAVID FREYNE (Director/Writer)
David Freyne is an award-winning Irish filmmaker based in London. Following a forgettably average degree in English and Philosophy, David started working as a runner in post-production. As he worked up the rungs from coffee giver to occasional coffee receiver, David began making short films in his spare time. These films, which vary from comedy, horror and sci-fi, did well on the festival circuit leading to funding from Screen Ireland and RTÉ (Ireland’s BBC). David’s first feature was 2017s critically acclaimed (not by everyone obviously), The Cured, starring Ellen Page. The film screened in Special Presentation at TIFF, LFF, Sitges, as well as winning Best Horror Feature at Fantastic Fest.
David then did an about-turn to make his semi-autobiographical passion project, Dating Amber, which has become a Summer hit in the UK and Ireland. And that’s sort of where we are now. He is currently writing a revenge film and a period film. He hasn’t shot anything in a while, on account of covid.
DATING AMBER is my story or, at least, as autobiographical as it will ever get. Alas, all the really cringingly funny moments in the film are the most truthful bits; desperately failing to touch a girl’s breast, nun led sex-ed (the unbelievable video is verbatim based on the real thing) or my mother finding my self-created gay pornography. As a younger man, I was so wrapped up in the depression and anxiety of being gay that I failed to see the funny side of, well, being wrapped up in the depression and anxiety of being gay.
It didn’t help that all I ever saw on TV or in the movies were gay characters dying of AIDS or being beaten to death. And as worthy as those stories are, I yearned to see an honest funny depiction of growing up being awkward and closeted. As much as I wish my teen years resembled Call Me By Your Name, I didn’t look like Timothée Chalamet. And Armie Hammer was definitely not holidaying in the vicinity. Gays and lesbians didn’t exist in separate worlds and toxic masculinity made everyone miserable. Amidst the pain, I realized that there was also so much humour, warmth and love.
DATING AMBER is the film I wanted to see when I was younger. It’s a film about first love (albeit platonic) that is brimming with hope. Eddie and Amber give each other the courage to be who they need to be. They shape who the other is to become. The film is my love letter to all those kids who felt different and needed to escape in order to be themselves. But while I was making this deeply personal story, I never realized how much the film would resonate with kids today. The outpouring of love, not just from older people, but teenagers, has been phenomenal.
While we may have come a long way, we still live in a straight world. These queer kids, struggling to come to terms with their gender and sexuality, are still everywhere. They are in every small town across Ireland, just as they are in America. They are there today just as much as they were there in the past. And they deserve to see their stories shaped by love and laughter. They deserve their own coming of age story like Superbad and Lady Bird. Eddie and Amber mean more to me than any characters I’ve ever created. DATING AMBER is their great love story.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.