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Patrik, Age 1.5 is a wonderful film about the small errors in life that have the biggest, and deeply emotional, impact. Set in Sweden, it opens at a welcoming party for the new neighbours, Goran and Sven, who have just moved into the area to start a new life and who have set the wheels in motion to adopt a baby.
Unfortunately, no country will allow a gay couple to adopt any of its children, much to Goran’s distress, who desperately wants to give a baby a happy, loving home.
They continue to live in hope and, one day, a letter comes through stating the adoption agency have a 1.5 year old called Patrik who is ready for adoption immediately, and who will be brought to their house.
With Sven at work, a young man knocks at the house where Goran is awaiting the new arrival. This young man is called Patrik and is 15 years old. A typographical error has meant the baby is not such a baby, but a homophobic teenager with a criminal past and who believes that all gay men are paedophiles.
Goran and Sven try to send him back to the adoption agency but the only choices for Patrik is to stay with them or go back into the foster home he has spent the last 10 years. Goran pleads with Sven to allow Patrik to stay with them until a new home is found, but Sven is completely against the idea as Patrik threatens to destroy their relationship.
What starts off rather slowly, meandering through the idyllic Swedish town, the film turns into an utterly charming and heart-warming story of acceptance and love. With endearing performances from Gustaf Skarsgard (Goran) and Patrik (Tom Ljungman), this movie manages, while not being an original concept, to remain fresh and poignant and is thoroughly watchable and believable.
One of the running themes in Patrik, Age 1.5 is gardening. This may seem rather dull but it is crucial in how the neighbourhood pulls together in acceptance, and holds up as a metaphor to how people of all ages can develop as individuals when in the right and safe environment.
However one particular scene towards the end threatens the heart of the film. It shows the couple becoming rather amorous but, unfortunately, feels completely out of place. It is understandable the writer wanted to show the difference in attitude of the Patrik we first meet to the Patrik at the end, but because the whole film focuses on the subtleties of the relationships, to have this rushed sex scene seems to be inappropriate.
On the whole, this is a great film to watch. The subtitles aren’t perfect but it doesn’t take anything away from the enjoyment.
The moral of the story is obvious. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your past is. Sometimes all you need is love, patience, homemade pizza and a touch of country music to help you through.
Patrik, Age 1.5 is out now and released through TLA Releasing.
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