A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dating Amber is a charming coming-of-age comedy that is, at its core, about two gay teenagers learning to accept who they are and be proud of themselves in the process. Set in Ireland, teens Eddie (Fionn O'Shea) and Amber (Lola Petticrew) face much adversary to their lifestyle choices. Fellow students are nasty to them, but their mothers are kind and supportive. The language is very strong throughout, not just swear words but also homophobic slurs, used in a derogatory fashion, such as "f--got" and "lezza." Sex is also discussed in graphic terms. Sex scenes include masturbation and oral sex, but it's not explicit -- the camera focussing on the face rather than anywhere else -- and there is no nudity. The teenage characters drink and smoke. In one scene, Eddie and Amber take ecstasy -- the latter pressuring the former into taking it -- though it is not necessarily encouraged as they have regretful experiences. Despite some of its cruder elements, this movie maintains a positive, optimistic outlook on the lead characters and their respective futures.
What's the story?
DATING AMBER tells the story of Eddie (Fionn O'Shea) and Amber (Lola Petticrew) two outsiders at school who are bullied as their peers believe them to both be gay. So they hatch a plan, if they pretend to be in a straight relationship, maybe their classmates will leave them alone. But how long can this secret last?
Is it any good?
This is a sweet and moving tale, full of the distinctive Irish charm and wit that so often illuminates cinema. The premise is comparable to that of Easy A, and the tone to that of Sex Education, so it doesn't feel in any way unique, but it's been executed in an accomplished manner. Tonally a triumph, it blends the heart with the comedy in a satisfying way.
Although Dating Amber follows a familiar beat, it remains endearingly rather than tedious or repetitive. The two lead performances are simply brilliant, with newcomer Petticrew in particular stealing the show. The sincere, sympathetic character of Eddie is also a real testament to O'Shea, whose previous work includes another Irish hit Normal People.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the portrayal of sexuality in Dating Amber. Why do Eddie and Amber feel they need to pretend to be something they are not? How did the homophobic slurs in the movie make you feel? Discuss homophobic attitudes and what can be done to counter them.
Discuss the strong language used in the movie. Does it seem necessary or excessive? What does it contribute to the movie?
The characters discuss sex openly in front of their parents. Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships. Why is it important to have an open dialogue?
Eddie and Amber have a teacher they respect. Do you have a teacher you look up to and admire? If so, why?
- On DVD or streaming: June 4, 2020
- Cast: Fionn O'Shea, Lola Petticrew, Sharon Horgan
- Director: David Freyne
- Studio: Amazon Prime Video
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: June 9, 2020
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