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PATRIK 1.5, 2008
Movie Reviews!

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PATRIK 1 5, MOVIE POSTERPATRIK 1.5, 2008
Movie Reviews

Directed by Ella Lemhagen
Cast: Gustaf Skarsgård, Torkel Petersson and Tom Ljungman
Review by Jarred Thomas


SYNOPSIS:

A Swedish drama that follows a gay couple (Gustaf Skarsgard and Torkel Petersson) who seek to adopt a one year old named Patrik, only to mistakenly be left with a troubled teen.

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REVIEW:

A heartwarming and engaging story, Patrik, Age 1.5 explores the themes of parenthood and prejudice in a film about understanding and acceptance. A young gay couple moves into a new neighborhood, settle in with their jobs, and eventually decide it’s time to adopt. After some time searching, they come across a child named Patrik, age one and a half. However, a mistake on the papers reveals that the child is actually a teenager named Patrik, at the age of 15.

As they try to resolve the situation it becomes clear that Patrik is here to stay, for now anyway. Sven and Goran begin to have trouble in their relationship as the difficulty in dealing with a troubled teen, especially a homophobic one, drives them apart. Patirk does little to hide his feelings towards the two, and his comments forces Sven to leave. Without his significant other, Goran is left with Patrik, and despite their reservations towards each other they eventually develop a bond.

Their bond comes from an understanding that both are misunderstood and judged based on preconceived notions. Alone they struggle, together, they strive. Their friendship is a strong point in the film particularly from Patrik, whose phobia towards homosexuals gradually diminishes. Patrik and Goran have the most character development throughout the film as their bond grows stronger.

Patrik Age 1.5 never preaches a point of view; rather, it shines a spotlight on three individuals, with similar yet different lifestyles, that are placed in a situation based on a mistake. That one mistake is a life changing lesson, and what they learn, is to understand and accept each other for who they are not what they are. A profound lesson, one so few in life can experience and many take for granted. Patrik Age 1.5 shows what happens when such a lesson is not only learned, but applied.

There are some light and humorous moments in the film between the Goran and Patrik. While Patrik works on a neighbor’s garden, Goran has a conversation with the neighbor. After a few too many innuendoes in regards to Partik, Goran gets up to leave demanding for Patrik to follow. As they leave, the neighbor confronts Goran, who proceeds to body slam him in the driveway, a move Patrik taught Goran earlier. It’s a funny moment mostly because it was completely unexpected, but certainly called for considering the preceding conversation.

The film succeeds because it has a heart. These characters feel real, and although you may not know exactly what they are going through, you do sympathize with them because they are trying to achieve what so many look for; understanding. To understand them is to know them and the director, Ella Lemhagen, makes that message clear among the characters. Goran, Sven and Patrik dispel with their preconceived ideas and allow themselves to open to each other, an important universal message.

The film needs to be commended specifically for avoiding the obvious stereotypes, and Gustaf Skarsgard deserves special recognition for his role as Goran. Skarsgard’s emotions carry the film as we see his anxiety about adopting, his heartbreak when Patrik arrives and not the child, and his growth as a stronger individual when left to face a challenge alone. There is true character development, a necessity in all films, but required more in films that deal with ignorance on a character’s part. If the protagonist can move on from their prejudice, then the film truly succeeds.

This Swedish drama is a sweet and touching film, which deserves more attention for its subject matter, quiet yet impressive performances and engaging storyline. While most films harp on the dramatic, Patrik Age 1.5 finds an even mix between drama and comedy while never sacrificing itself to cheap jokes and over the top performances. A well made film with a universal message; Patrik Age 1.5 is worth seeking.

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