Amazon Studios

Movie Review: My Policeman

14:00 November 16, 2022
By: Mia Oliva

After watching Harry Styles' performance in Olivia Wilde's recently premiered "Don't Worry, Darling", I was a bit skeptical in regards to his following feature film performance in "My Policeman". To my surprise, I was awestruck. Not only by Styles' performance, but by the film's entirety.

"My Policeman", directed by Michael Grandage and based on Bethan Roberts' novel of the same name, recounts the dynamic of 1950s Brighton policeman Tom (Styles) and his soon-to-be wife Marion (Emma Corrin). Their relationship seems intact and indestructible until Tom meets museum curator Patrick (David Dawson) while on the job. Patrick asks Tom if he could draw a portrait of him, which he accepts. Upon their meeting, Tom comes to terms with his sexuality and a secretive yet passionate affair commences between the two men shortly after.

Several elements of this film incite an array of emotion. However, the overall theme of surceased time as a result of epochal homophobia is what makes this film so agonizing. What spotlights this tone of dread is how the film opens. We're introduced to an older Marion (Gina McKee) nurturing a bed-ridden Patrick (Rupert Everett) out of guilt and remorse of her juvenile decisions and rejection of the truth; that she is homophobic and her husband is gay. We soon learn that older Tom (Linus Roache) has suppressed his sexuality to appease Marion and has developed a disdain for Patrick throughout the years.

The events of the film unfold as the older Marion goes through Patrick's diary, where she gains further insight on his relationship with Tom. Patrick had recorded each of their meetings, from their first to their last, right before an envious Marion reported Patrick to the museum for homosexuality. In these diary entries, Patrick refers to Tom as "my policeman", in order to conceal and protect his identity, for during this time being a homosexual policeman was appallingly unheard of.

There are so many aspects to this film that make it special, both technical and practical. David Dawson (who plays young Patrick) managed to captivate me both visually and emotionally, from his gentle yet secure demeanor to his display of unreserved romanticism. The older versions of Tom and Patrick also tugged at my heart, as they intricately displayed the grief of regret and a life lived without sincerity.

The closing scene solidified the element of melancholy presented throughout the film. Once Marion concludes her reading of Patrick's diary, she decides to reap what she sowed and informs Tom of her decision to leave on a whim in an attempt to repair what she ruined, before it's too late. Tom begs her to stay because he doesn't want to be alone, in which Marion reassures him that he's not and never was, for he has Patrick.

Once Marion departs, we are shown older Patrick looking out the window on his wheelchair and an apprehensive older Tom approaching. Tom then puts his hand on Patrick's shoulder, and when the camera pans out its young Tom with old Patrick. All I can say is the waterworks came on my behalf.

This was a beautiful film encapsulating themes of love and loss, and I strongly recommend it to all.

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