Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fionn O’Shea and Lola Petticrew are just about perfect as a young couple who pretend to fall in love in1995 Ireland in the new film Dating Amber.

But they are not an actual couple. You see Eddie (O’Shea) is Gay (though he won’t admit it), and Amber (Petticrew) is a Lesbian, and both are on the cusp of finishing their last year of high school. Amber, who lives with her widowed mother in a trailer park, has dreams of moving to London after she graduates. Eddie, meanwhile, plans to go into the military to follow in his father’s footsteps. But to survive their final year at school, and to ward off name-calling and bullying from their fellow students, they decide to pretend to be a couple (this is after a failed attempt on Eddie’s part to woo a blond girl, though he fails to grab her boob during a groping session).

Eddie and Amber go through their charade and actually make a perfect couple; Eddie is shy, very cute and adorable, while Amber is aggressive, knows what she wants, and has all the best lines. However, after a night out to a gay bar in Dublin where Amber meets someone, and Eddie still not quite ready to accept that he’s gay, the pressure is on for him to take charge of his life, to appease his father (Barry Ward) and very understanding and knowing mother (Sharon Horgan), alongside his know-it-all younger brother (Evan O’Connor). 

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This coming-of-age comedy is a poignant, honest and funny look at the highs and lows of teenage life while growing up in a conservative environment where young people who are different don’t seem to fit in. Both leads are just absolutely perfect, the feel of mid-90s Ireland comes through the screen, and the funny script makes Dating Amber the one of best romantic comedy and growing up films of the year.

Now available on Demand and Digital