SYNOPSIS: A tale of forbidden romance and changing social conventions, My Policeman follows the relationships between three people, policeman Tom (Harry Styles/Linus Roache), teacher Marion (Emma Corrin/Gina McKee) and museum curator Patrick (David Dawson/Rupert Everett) and their emotional journey spanning decades.
Based on a 2012 novel by Bethan Roberts and inspired by the relationship between writer E.M. Forster and a real-life policeman, forbidden love, lust and jealously pretty much summed up the themes of this LGBTQ+ drama which stars pop star Harry Styles as My Policeman.
The drama opens in the 90’s whereby a seemingly normal retired couple, Tom (Linus Roache) and Marion (Gina McKee) stays in a sleepy seaside town that boasts a gorgeous view. Of course, audiences are here not for the view. We are here for the story. Soon, their mundane lives are disrupted when Marion decides to take in their old friend, Patrick Hazelwood (Rupert Everett) and assumes caring responsibilities as the latter has suffered a stroke.
For some reason, Tom is distanced towards Patrick as he spends a lot of time walking his dog instead of caring for his old friend, the story then jumps back in time to the late 1950s where we see how a younger Tom (Styles) and younger Marion (Emma Corrin) falls in love and how their supposedly best friend, Patrick (David Dawson) turns out to be a love rival to Marion rather than just a third wheel.
The deliberate drama spends its time examining the complexity and struggles of living as a queer man through the eyes of Tom and Patrick. As a museum curator, Patrick is cultured, refined while Tom is suave, charming and loves falling asleep at recitals. But that doesn’t stop them from falling madly in love (cue in numerous butt naked sex scenes) although Tom swiftly marries Marion, a school teacher probably in a bid to repress his homosexuality not knowing it’s a hot recipe for disaster.
Meanwhile, the timelines continue to jump back and forth and as Marion starts to pry more into Patrick’s dairies, we realises there’s nothing more we can learn of their suffering love triangle other than a life-changing decision made by Marion. Even though there’s an interesting mention of criminalisation of gay activities in the movie, sadly, it didn’t go beyond two policemen chasing after a queer figure and a subsequent brief courtroom scene.
Styles has been largely blamed for his bland performance mostly outshone by veteran David Dawson who plays a painful nuanced character. Still, you got to admit the former One Direction star indeed has the balls to take on such a controversial role. The appearances of Linus Roache and Rupert Everett on the other hand is far more interesting to watch unfortunately their limited screentime is the reason why everything ends up flat and uninspiring.
My Policeman is definitely not on the level of Brokeback Mountain even if the proceedings and themes are somewhat eerily similar. With a quiet accompanied music score, lush cinematography and costume design, it is still a decent serving of a classic romance drama.
Review by Linus Tee