High school is a brutal place. Especially if you are considered “different”. And by different I mean according to small minded high school students. Because they are gay both Eddie (Fionn O’Shea – from Netflix’s The Letter for the King) and Amber (Lola Petticrew – A Bump Along the Way) are both the targets of bullies. Suddenly a way out of that comes to Eddie.
He tells her that if they pretend to be dating that no one will bully them anymore. Amber agrees. While doing this the two become close friends. As for the future, Amber dreams of moving to London and Eddie wants to follow in his father’s (Barry Ward – Jimmy’s Hall) footsteps and enlist in the military after he finishes high school.
As we could have predicted, their pact begins to fall apart when Amber finds a love (Lauryn Canny – A Thousand Times Good Night) then comes out to her mother (Simone Kirby – Alice Through the Looking Glass, Calm with Horses) and Eddie wallows in denial. Amber realizes he is going to crash and burn unless he is able to be who he truly is.
Happening in the mid 90s in a largely Catholic country – Ireland – this coming of age story is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Heartwarming because the two young lead characters are completely likable. You love Amber due to her spunk and wit while you just want to wrap your arms around Eddie to protect him from this cruel world.
Plus, the two young actors do a great job. You might mistake most of his acting as deadwood, but when you see the scenes between him and Lola Pettigrew and how he brings Eddie to life you realize it is a choice. A choice allowing for the viewer to see the torment he is going through by not being his true self. This will cause your heart to break.
Being gay in Ireland, especially back in the 90s, was not fun and games. Most had to exist in the closet. Deep in the closet. Due to the Catholic nature of the country. Eddie is a character which existed in every city, town, village, and hamlet.
This is the type of film not many will see and that is a shame. A shame because it is highly enjoyable and loads better than plenty of the crap out there. Make the effort. See it and you won’t regret it.