“Patrik Age 1.5” review: Gay marriage in movies – isn’t new to other countries by Kevin M. Thomas

Patrik 1.5One of the few drawbacks of a film festival is you see a terrific movie and then if it doesn’t have a distributor, you may not see it again for a along time – if ever.

I don’t know if that is the case with “Patrik 1.5” but it sure has taken its time to get here. I saw and fell in love with this sweet little movie last year during Frameline’s Film Festival. Over a year, and another film festival, have passed and “Patrik” finally comes to the Bay Area this Friday at Berkeley’s Landmark Shattuck Cinema, my favorite theatre in the East Bay as well as San Francisco’s Lumiere Theatre.

The title of the film has been changed a bit to “Patrik, Age 1.5” maybe not to confuse Americans that it’s not a half a sequel. Nonetheless, it’s still a wonderful movie that should be sought out.

The story is about a Swedish married couple who move to a small town in order to raise a family. And although being married and gay is permitted and not as shocking in Sweden, the sexy couple still face some prejudices in their suburban neighborhood but they hope their love with prevail.

Life couldn’t be better for our couple as they were just approved to adopt a 1.5 year old. As they prepare the nursery for their bundle of joy, they are surprised that their little package comes with a package of his own. (Little gay pun the straights might not get.) What shows up at their door is not a toddler, but instead a sexy, jailbait 15 year old – seems there was a typo in their adoption papers. And to complicate things even more, Patrik is homophobic!

The plot itself makes this entangled tale worth seeing. But it finds heart with Gustaf Skarsgard in the more mom role of the couple and its soul from Torkel Petersson as the more masculine, bearish brut of a husband. I dare anyone to drop the gay f bomb on him and get away with it. Their 15-year-old son Patrik, played winningly by Thomas Ljungman does try, but is put in his place fast.

The comedy of errors may reel you in to sit back and thoroughly enjoy this film, but its the depth of the characterizations and the realness of the actors that will make you savor this film for sometime to come and help elevate the film from becoming a feature lengthened sitcom.

Of course they are aided by Ella Lemhagen’s excellent script and direction (from a play by Michael Druker). Lemhagen, one of Sweden’s most honored filmmakers, is able to bring pathos and poignancy to even the smallest scenes. With just a few moments of screen time, she’s able to set a tone of equality between our gay couple as they mingle amongst their straight neighbors during a housewarming party.

Skarsgard and Ljungman received award nominations in Sweden’s answer to the Oscars. And the film itself won the Audience Award from 2009’s Frameline film festival.

In talking about “Patrik” over a year since I first saw it, I feel that I’ve missed a good friend. So thank you Here Pictures for distributing this little gem and Landmark Theatres for welcoming “Patrik” to the neighborhood.

Check out the film at http://www.patrikonepointfive.com.

In looking around for theatres, it seems to be playing exclusively at Landmark Theatres. So treat yourself and seek it out. Go to www.landmarktheatres.com for tickets.