A stilted examination of the price of leading a double life


After passionate sex, Tom asks his lover, do you think you’ll get married one day? Tom doesn’t offer. Her lover, Patrick, is gay, as is Tom. They live in 1950s England, when homosexuality was illegal and marriage was a mode of concealment. Michel Grandage my policemanbased on the Bethan Roberts novel of the same name, explores the triangular relationship that develops between Tom, Patrick, and Marion, the woman Tom marries.

The main selling point of Amazon Prime Video’s version is not its subject matter but its cast. Imagine a poster that reads: Featuring singing sensation Harry Styles! The crown star Emma Corrin! The fine cast provides a welcome distraction from Ron Nyswaner’s stuffy script, the infuriating sense that an important subject has been mechanically handled, and the temptation to revisit better similarly-themed films such as Mauritius, Brokeback Mountain and Portrait of a lady on fire.

In the present, an ailing Patrick (Rupert Everett) reenters the lives of Marion (Gina McKee) and Tom (Linus Roache). Flashbacks reveal how museum curator Patrick (David Dawson) becomes a third wheel in the relationship between policeman Tom (Styles) and schoolteacher Marion (Corrin).

Tom’s feelings for Patrick are summed up by his reaction to JMW Turner’s classic painting Steamboat off the mouth of a harbor which hangs at the local gallery. Their “exciting and chilling” clandestine affair unleashes a maelstrom that threatens to drown Marion too.

my policeman seeks to remind us of a time when same-sex love was both a matter of social embarrassment and criminal prosecution. David Dawson’s sensitive face and haunted demeanor give the best measure of the price to pay for leading a double life. Emma Corrin and Harry Styles are strictly adequate in a film that is strictly average in its portrayal of extraordinary moments.

My Policeman (2022),

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