Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
Original title: Patrik 1,5
Sweden, 2008. Film i Väst, Sonet Film, Sveriges Television, Filmlance International AB. Screenplay by Ella Lemhagen, based on the play by Michael Druker. Cinematography by Marek Wieser. Produced by Tomas Michaelsson. Music by Fredrik Emilson. Production Design by Lene Willumsen. Costume Design by Angelica Tibblin Chen. Film Editing by Thomas Lagerman. Toronto International Film Festival 2008.
Goran and Sven are a happily married couple who move to a gorgeously Stepford-esque suburban neighbourhood and set up shop for an impending arrival: their first child. Adoption of a baby is tricky as none of the third-world countries with an overabundance of orphaned children will give one to a same-sex couple, so they ask their social services liaison to find them a Swedish one. Imagine their delight and joy when they find out that an infant of the age of 1.5 is made available to them, and then imagine even more so their dismay when the child turns out to be a 15 year-old juvenile delinquent whose presence is the result of a typo on the original notification letter. Now these two are stuck with a foul-mouthed, angry miscreant who thinks gays are beneath contempt. The boy does, however, have a talent for gardening, so while menacing the couple with resentment, he manages to beautify the entire neighbourhood. Meanwhile the heroic couple is torn apart by his existence: Sven leaves in anger over their situation, while Goran finds himself growing more and more sympathetic to the misguided young man who is, despite all errors, sorely in need of a family. Ella Lemhagen’s film, based on the stage play by Michael Druker, is a bubbly comedy that provides plenty of laughs and a few heartfelt moments as well, presenting a sunny vision of love and companionship wrapped up in a tidy bow but not shying away from elements of meanness in these mens’ lives either. The performances are all wonderful, especially Gustaf Skarsgård (son of Stellan) as the sympathetic Goran, who is pulled every which way and yet never breaks.