Based on the 2012 novel by Bethan Roberts, “My Policeman” is a bittersweet story about love, loss and wasted time.
The film follows three people — policeman Tom Burgess, school teacher Marion Taylor and museum curator Patrick Hazlewood — and their forbidden love triangle. It transitions between their lives in the 1950s and 1990s in Brighton, England.
Present-day Marion, played by Gina McKee, reflects on her life as she takes care of Patrick, played by Rupert Everett, in her and Tom’s home after he suffers a stroke. Marion finds Patrick’s diaries, which causes her to reminisce about how she met him and Tom.
Younger Marion, played by Emma Corrin, is smitten with her friend’s older brother, Tom, played by Harry Styles. We see Marion and Tom’s relationship bloom as Tom gives her swimming lessons and Marion gives him art and book recommendations.
Tom tells Marion about his new friend, Patrick, and invites her to his museum. Patrick, played by David Dawson, exposes Tom and Marion to the arts, taking them to the theater and opera. As a result, the trio forms a seemingly innocent friendship.
In the present day, there is an unspoken sadness between the three of them. Tom, played by Linus Roache, refuses to face Patrick in his own home. We discover the reasoning behind this when Marion begins to read Patrick’s diary.
Patrick meets Tom when he is a witness in one of his cases. He soon becomes infatuated with Tom and asks if he can draw him for his museum. The two quickly form a passionate relationship. However, they had to be discreet since homosexuality was illegal in the 1950s.
Therefore, Tom decides to marry Marion to maintain secrecy. The events that follow are what cause the tension between the trio in the present day. The film resolves into a heartbreaking, yet satisfying ending.
One of my favorite aspects of the film was the visuals. The present-day scenes were gloomy, signifying the regret and pain of the characters. The past scenes were more vibrant, signifying the innocence and naivety of the characters before everything occurred.
This was Styles’ second major role since “Don’t Worry Darling,” and I think he captured Tom’s charisma very well. However, I felt that he was outshined by Corrin and Dawson at times, and there were moments when I wanted more from his performance.
Dawson delivered my favorite performance of the film. He was very compelling as Patrick and you could sympathize with what his character was going through. He and Styles had amazing onscreen chemistry.
Although the plot was slow at some points, “My Policeman” still makes an impact. It is an important example of how LGBTQ+ individuals were treated only a few decades ago but also how much progress has been made today. It is a moving story about wasted potential and what you decide to do with it. The ending was beautifully done and it is going to stick with me for a long time.
“My Policeman” is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.