Movie Review: My Policeman

In present day England, we are introduced to married couple Tom (Linus Roache) and Marion (Gina McKee), as they take in their one-time friend Patrick (Rupert Everett) while he recovers from a stroke. Tom is displeased with his wife’s decision to bring Patrick into their home and refuses to speak to him, but Marion insists that it is the right thing to do, especially because of a yet-to-be-revealed past event, and so sets about doing her best to care for him. In his belongings she comes upon his diaries and after some resistance, ultimately can’t help but to read them.

We are taken back to the 1950s, when a young Marion (Emma Corrin) first meets Tom (Harry Styles) on a beach in Brighton. He agrees to help teach her to swim if she will introduce him to more refined cultural activities and the pair quickly become close. For one outing, Tom brings Marion to an art museum for a guided tour by his acquaintance Patrick (David Dawson), whom he met while on duty as a Policeman. The trio get along exceedingly well and all wind up being great friends, but unbeknownst to Marion, Tom and Patrick have been carrying on a romantic relationship in secret the whole time, unable to live openly for fear of being arrested for practicing homosexuality.

The film flashes back and forth between the present and the past, as Marion learns more about the depths of her husband’s relationship with Patrick through his journals and we build towards the previously mentioned past event that would lead to the fracturing of the group and cause Marion’s feelings of obligation towards her friend. The filmmakers do a good job of evoking a very specific time and place, in the service of a well-told, bittersweet romance. Director Michael Grandage, himself also once an actor) elicits decent performances from his cast, though no one performance feels especially noteworthy. His direction is mostly workmanlike, with only occasional flourishes of style, which is somewhat disappointing in a movie that so often discusses art. A brisker pace could have also benefitted the story, though it never feels dull. It’s important to remember just how recently members of the LGBTQ+ community were so viciously persecuted and to see an example of the ways that preventing people from living as their true selves only causes pain for everyone around them, and it’s nice to be given those reminders in a film that doesn’t wallow around in relentless misery (though there is a little bit of that). A moving story wrapped up in a pretty enough package. ★★★

RATED r for sexual content. also includes some violence and smoking.

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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