The 2012 novel by Bethan Roberts, “My Policeman,” was adapted into a captivating, resonant and deeply wistful film that is probably best appreciated stylistically, thematically, and romantically. If judged more within the context of its primarily mid-20th century setting than by contemporary expectations.
The film serves as a powerful reminder of how far LBGTQ+ rights and acceptance have come in many parts of the world, and perhaps how fragile such equality still is, thanks to its vivid recreation of a more repressive era in this case in England, where homos*xual activity between men was long illegal (it was first conditionally decriminalized in 1967).
Tom a young police officer in Brighton in 1957 is played by Harry Styles and he strikes up an unlikely connection with Patrick the curator of the local museum played by David Dawson. Tom and his oblivious love Marion (Emma Corrin) embark on a series of exciting summer escapades as a trio with the seasoned Patrick.
But when Tom and Marion get married, that triad becomes two duos, and rival duos at that, leading to inevitable emotional, social and s*xual issues as well as one particularly deadly betrayal.
The talented ensemble, director (and acclaimed stage veteran) Michael Grandage and playwright Ron Nyswaner (“Philadelphia,” “The Painted Veil”) handle the material with tact and credibility.
This part tho 😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/NHqAGMfOOR
— My Policeman Updates 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@MypolicemanU) October 21, 2022
Once we learn the full scope of Tom and Patrick’s secret love affair, it is especially effective how specific instances are recreated in a way that is both educational and illuminating. Almost palpable is the two men’s irresistible “love that dare not utter its name.”
The majority of the plot, however, is revealed through flashbacks to the 1990s, when an older Tom (Linus Roache), Marion (Gina McKee) and Patrick (Rupert Everett) are reunited in, shall we say, less-than-ideal circumstances: Patrick has had a devastating stroke, and against Tom’s desires, Marion has arranged for him to recover with her and Tom in their seaside cottage.
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