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Film / Dating Amber

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Dating Amber is a 2020 Irish coming-of-age film directed by David Freyne.

As its original title Beards would suggest, it is about two Closet Gay teenagers in their final year of school in 1995 Kildare, Eddie Cotter (Fionn O'Shea) and Amber Keenan (Lola Petticrew), who decide to fake a relationship. The pair are in very different places: Eddie is still figuring himself out in deep denial and seems resigned to a life of repression in the military; Amber knows who she is and awaits the end of school so she can get to London, be herself, and open "an anarchist bookshop with franchise potential".



  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: Ian takes Eddie training in the woods, calling it "man time" and giving him a number of survival tips.
  • Awkward Kiss:
    • Eddie and Tracey's at the beginning is beyond awkward to the point of gaining notoriety, with him chatting through it and refusing to put his hands anywhere near her, before promptly ducking whilst she looks befuddled by the whole thing.
    • Eddie and Amber's kisses generally fall into this category, although this time they're both in on it.
  • The Beard:
    • Eddie and Amber to each other, to stop kids from teasing them at school and to get their parents of their backs. Amber offers to date Eddie upon witnessing his attempt to ask Tracey out fail.
    • Tracey sort of becomes unwittingly this to Eddie.
  • Class Clown: Kev often interrupts Sweeney's class to taunt Eddie and sometimes Amber, such as when he called Eddie out in the middle of class to ask why he wouldn't touch Tracey during their kiss.
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  • Compensating for Something: Eddie can be a bit ''too'' forward in talking about his (non existent) experiences with girls.
  • Differing Priorities Breakup: Their differences become more stark after Eddie's Freak Out over being caught with a guy at the club and Amber starts to see Sarah. Amber is increasingly enticed by coming out whilst Eddie has been spooked into a life in the closet. Amber begins to suggest they "break up" when Eddie asks if they can date for real. By that point, it's clear it's "over".
  • Disappeared Dad: Amber's father committed suicide.
  • Flying Under the Gaydar: Eddie is terrified of anyone perceiving him as gay, to the point of going right into Armored Closet Gay toward the end. He is in serious denial even after Amber informs him that she's gay too and that he can trust her.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Eddie is expected to join the army like his father Commandant Ian Cotter and "become a man".
    • Ian admits late into the film that Eddie doesn't actually ''have'' to do this if he doesn't feel it's for him, at which point the pressure seems more internal than external.
  • Hated Hometown: Amber has a dream of moving to London and states "this place will kill you", telling Eddie to get out too. Makes sense that she believes this when her father committed suicide, and she blames her hometown for it.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Eddie wears headphones all the time.
  • Heroic BSoD: Eddie very loudly freaks out when someone he recognises sees him kiss a guy at the club. Amber then asks him for a "break", during which she goes out with Sarah whilst he is left alone with his Gayngst and repression.
  • I Can't Hear You: As a result of wearing headphones all the time, Eddie often doesn't hear things such as gun shots or people trying to talk to him.
  • Jerkass: Most of the kids at school, but Kev is the most devoted.
  • Jerkass Realization:
    • Amber cries after she invokes her father's suicide to talk back to her mother Jill.
    • Eddie apologises to Amber "for being such a prick to you" at the end.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Downplayed and Lampshaded when Eddie asks Amber to walk more feminine and she retorts, "what, like you?" and whacks him over the head.
  • The Matchmaker: Kev without second thought sets Eddie up with Tracey, the first girl he randomly claims to like to avoid getting called slurs, much to Eddie's dismay.
  • Mentor in Queerness: Downplayed. An intoxicated Eddie is mesmerised by Drag Queen ballad performance in Dublin. He gets on stage and the drag queen asks if he's okay and pulls him in for a hug.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Ian, Hannah, and Jill are all more accepting of their children than Eddie and Amber think, even if Eddie never comes to realise it.
  • Passing the Torch: Just as Eddie is about to leave for the military according to his father's wishes, Amber hands him the money she's been saving to move to London and tells him to go instead.
  • Photo Booth Montage: Eddie and Amber when they get to Dublin.
  • Posthumous Character: Amber's father committed suicide before the events of the film.
  • Precocious Crush: Amber clocks that Eddie is gay because of his apparent crush on Sweeney (played by Peter Campion from Derry Girls). Eddie, in a trance, tries to kiss him at one point, but it doesn't quite go into Teacher/Student Romance territory as Sweeney rejects him wholeheartedly.
  • Sex in a Shared Room: Amber grimaces at a couple doing it in the row behind them at the cinema whilst Eddie stares ahead blankly.
  • Sex Miseducation Class: The students watch a poorly acted Christian sex ed video presented by a homophobic nun.
  • Shrinking Violet: There's a shot of Eddie curled in on himself on the school step shaking slightly as he psychs himself up to say hello to someone.
  • Skipping School: Amber convinces Eddie to skip school to go to Dublin together.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: Eddie bikes with his headphones on through a active live fire training zone without noticing. The soldiers run after him to try to alert him.
  • Real Men Don't Cry: Subverted. Ian seems to care deeply "being a man" only to break down crying in front of his son over his marriage problems.
  • Refusal of the Call: Eddie rejects Amber's offer at first, unwilling to confront his sexuality in the way Amber has hers. Has a change of heart when he sees her getting taunted and comes to the rescue by loudly implying they're hooking up.
  • Too Much Information:
    • Eddie's brother Jack constantly brings details about Eddie-related gossip up at the dinner table. Ian indulges it and Hannah grimaces.
    • Students at the school have no problem announcing rather personal things to anyone who will hear, including in the middle of class.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: I mean, their friendship is started by Amber throwing a rock at Eddie's bike and knocking him off of it.
  • Vulgar Humor: Kev and his friends fall into this frequently, especially when taunting people.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After she comes out without warning, Eddie calls Amber a slur to get her to go away and publicly distance himself from her. Even Kev calls it out, which prompts Eddie to attack him for his hypocrisy. He is then called into Sweeney's office, who tells him this is not like him, and later Amber rightfully knocks him off his bike to yell at him.
  • Yawn and Reach: Kev tries this on Janet after seeing Eddie and Amber run off together.
    Janet: "Don't touch me."
    Kev: "Totally fair."

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