The Stork Brings a Surprise for Gay Adoptive Parents in Patrik, Age 1.5


Their new suburban house is lovely, the neighbors friendly, the nursery ready—and now all that Göran (Gustaf Skarsgård) and his husband, Sven (Torkel Petersson), need to make their familial dreams come true is an actual child. A letter from Swedish Social Services promises that a baby is on the way, but what arrives at the door instead is Patrik (Thomas Ljungman), a 15-year-old orphan with a criminal record and little tolerance for “homos.” The couple don’t handle the surprise very well, particularly Sven, who gets more loutish by the hour. Writer-director Ella Lemhagen’s adaptation of Michael Druker’s play begins, rather self-consciously, as a broad comedy, but the tone darkens quickly, as Göran and Sven’s relationship unravels under the pressure, leaving Göran to handle the boy, who turns out not to be such a holy terror after all. There aren’t many surprises to what follows, but one is never bored, thanks to the innate charms of Skarsgård and young Ljungman, both of whom have such sweetly hopeful smiles that it’s hard not to wish them eternal happiness, even as we wait in vain for Lemhagen to throw their characters a few real-world challenges—they do an awful lot of gardening.

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