PATRIK, AGE 1.5 (dir. Ella Lemhagen, Sweden, 100 Mins.) This was a "Centerpiece screening" at last year's FRAMELINE, and is only now receiving theatrical distribution. I feared the film would be 'cute'. I LOATHE 'cute'! But, 'cuteness' lay only in the production design in which the pair of gay men live, surrounded in an IKEA constructed suburb, where they seek to adopt a child. It is not a spoiler to state that the decimal for the 1.5 year old they initially agree to adopt is misplaced to read 15 years old, as that is the conflict and reason for the piece. The trio is forced to deal with each other and their existence as a family, surrounded in a white picket fence world. The characters at the core of the film are what saved it from my loathing. The performances are real and artistically set against the artificial, idealized background, which hinders, if not oppresses their development as a family unit. The screenplay and direction handles the varying sources of conflict (the couple, the kid, the neighbors) with balance and sincerity. Never does the film cross the line into "made-for-tv" melodrama. I never felt manipulated or 'preached to', but gainfully followed the central trio's emotional journey to become a family unit. Director Ella Lemhagen navigates the numerous emotional and sociological obstacles realistically.
It's a crowd pleaser, without condescending to the crowd. The film won the Audience Award at last year's FRAMELINE as well as various other festivals. The film opens on Friday, Aug, 13, 2010, at Landmark’s Lumiere Theatre in San Francisco, and Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley.
Maxxxxx says re PATRIK, AGE 1.5: "I love you, too!"
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