This Swedish sleeper of a film is entertaining and very moving. Sweden is often thought of as the bright light of liberalism, a model for social justice. And less than a month after the passage of the same-sex marriage decision by the Supreme Court, we may think we are catching up. But “Patrik 1.5” shows us even socially liberal countries have bigotry to overcome. I was fascinated to see the cultural dynamic of a gay couple having to deal with homophobic neighbors as well as a homophobic teenager in a country this viewer associates with more liberal views and open-mindedness.
The main character, Goran, is a gentle and hard-working physician whose partner, Sven, is the love of his life. In a rare cinematic production, “Patrik 1.5” addresses a marriage which just happens to be a same-sex one. The humanity is portrayed without cliché or stereotype. The heartaches, conflicts, and struggles are those of any couple wanting to have a child and be a parent.
Goran and Sven are in store for the surprise of their life when, instead of the 1 ½ year old boy they think they are adopting, the adoption agency hands over a rebellious, delinquent and homophobic 15-year-old named Patrik. That misplaced decimal point is a bigger error than a typographical one. The drama takes off from there.
This film from the female director Ella Lemhagen dabbles in the foster family territory of the Academy-nominated movie, “The Kids Are All Right”. But the teenage actor nails the teenage angst in a far finer and more nuanced performance here in “Patrik 1.5”.
Enjoy the ride!