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Dating Amber Is A Delightful  Take On Sexuality

Dating Amber(Amazon  Prime)

Starring Fionn Shea,Lola Petticrew

Directed  by  David Freyne

Rating:  ****(4 stars)

When it comes  to films about  sexual orientation  it is always  like walking on thin ice. Just how horribly wrong the laughs  when applied to the  theme  of  homosexuality can go , was proven  by Shubh Mangal Zyada  Saavdhan, a film  so busy patting its back that it forgot to protect its  backside.

One just has  to see this  fabulously funny  and  immeasurably  sad  Irish film on being gay and trying not to be  unhappy , to know that sensitivity and satire can  go hand in hand.   A  craze  on  release, Dating Amber is about two adolescent  school kids who are discovering their sexuality and …well…they come  up with  an uncomfortable  reality.

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Eddie(Fion O’Shea) is  gay and not  admitting it,Amber(Lola Petticrew) is more  comfortable with her lesbianism. And  together  they make  quite a  pair!  The pact between Eddie and  Amber is  straight(!)forward. They will act as a straight couple  to avoid the jibes and bullying in school.

 Irish director David  Freyne(who has earlier   dabbled in horror) is  so at home  digging deep into  his  young  mixed-up couple’s brain and  libido.

“It’s simple,really,” says  the  outspoken Amber, “You  want  cock. I want  pussy.”

Simple,indeed. This is a film that  pulls out all the stops to reveal what  a pain in the ass adolescence can  be,  particularly  if you  don’t conform. The  bullying in  Eddie and Amber’s school  is  shown  as borderline brutal, yet it is terribly funny to see these pubescent students  with their posturings  of sexual experience and contempt for those who are  not  masculine  or feminine enough.

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 But they don’t mean any harm, really. There are no villains  in Dating Amber. And as the farcical arrangement  between Eddie and Amber grows into a beautiful bonding based on marginalization and  isolation  , Dating Amber emerges as one of the strongest most rousing  films on homosexuality on this side—or ANY side—of  Call Be My Your Name.

While the  two young  actors in  the lead are absolute naturals,  the supporting cast  of their school pals is disarmingly   authentic. Really, where  do they find these  performers?! The parents, no ogres in their children’s lives, are played  by actors who know  they are in this not just to make  a  statement but to have  fun. Barry Ward who plays Eddie’s very masculine father has  an unforgettable  meltdown  sequence.

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 Yes, tough guys do cry,specially when  given the right impetus.

 Dating Amber  is  funny and sad,  heartwarming and  heartmelting. The language  is strong,yes. But  then  this is a film about finding  your  sexuality. Disney  fans, please look away.

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