Wednesday, July 15, 2009

FILM: Patrik 1,5

I'm glad that George has been keeping his ears open for good OutFest films, since we've never managed to be proactive about the film festival. Fortunately, we were able to get spur-of-the-moment tickets for this evening's showing of Patrik 1,5, a charming Swedish film, presented under the stars at the Ford Amphitheater. It was a lovely summer night, and we enjoyed the heartfelt film very much. The film tells the story of Göran, a handsome sensitive doctor, his husband Sven who's a bit rougher around the edges, and their goal to move into a suburban neighborhood, adopt a baby, and have a nice family. Actually, it's a bit more Göran's goal than Sven's, the latter already having a teenage daughter from a previous straight marriage. But they press on, and the story gets its title twist when through a bureaucratic error, their anticipated 1.5-year-old adoptee turns out to be a 15-year-old juvenile delinquent, with a foul mouth, a bad attitude, a dose of homophobia, and a history of violence. Göran, Sven, and Patrik all have a lot to work through, but it is great to see the relationships develop, and how each affects the others. The story of this improbable family develops against the backdrop of Swedish suburbia, and the film pokes gentle fun at neighborhood dynamics -- neighborhood associations, garage sales and parties, and the pressure to keep up one's garden. At the same time, it explores the diversity of acceptance of a gay couple in the neighborhood, with reactions ranging from open acceptance to simmering hostility, with a lot of awkward politeness in between. While it touches on heavier subjects, it is never ponderous, and the tone is lightly sentimental throughout. It's a great story about genuine family values.

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