[Review] “My Policeman” lives up to expectations the book set

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Tribune News Service

Harry Styles, Emma Corrin and David Dawson in “My Policeman.” (Prime Video/TNS)

Lyla Sachs, Feature Editor

A normal romance film leaves the viewers happy and wanting more, but “My Policeman” is not a normal romance film. The book, which was written by Bethan Roberts and published on Aug. 4, 2012, is now hitting the theaters almost ten years later on Oct. 21, 2022. The movie was long anticipated, having well-known actors and a dramatic and equally tragic storyline. “My Policeman” did not fail to live up to the amazement of the book.

Due to the movie being owned by Amazon Prime, the film was only released in specific theaters. However, it is also being released on the streaming platform on Nov. 4, 2022 and can be watched through a subscription. The movie is directed and produced by Michael Grandage who is known for his other movies “Red” and “Genius.” The movie stars Grammy Award winner Harry Styles as Tom, Emma Corrin as Marion and David Dawson as Patrick. They are all the younger versions of the three main characters.

Following the past life of three individuals living in Brighton, England in the 1950s and the present 1999 suburbs, “My Policeman” explores the controversy of sexuality in the 50s and how it affected queer individuals. The film goes back and forth between the past and present with the older and younger actors.

The plot of the movie is the same as the book, though it could not stay exact, considering the book was written from two perspectives in a diary. The viewers see a romantic relationship between Tom and Marion and at the same time the budding of a friendship between Patrick, Marion and Tom. The three form a group that seems lovely, until Marion becomes aware of the affair between her husband, Tom, and good friend.

In the present, the three of them are older and very distant. Patrick has suffered from multiple strokes and Marion has taken to caring for him, while Tom isolates himself. The movie goes back and forth between past and present, from how the three of them met to how they fell apart. Tom’s profession as a policeman is the plot, as we hear Patrick refer to him as ‘my policeman’ in his diary entries. We also see many scenes of them in the art gallery where Patrick worked, which plays into the plot twist later in the film.

Grandage directed the film beautifully. He captured the secrecy and lies of Tom and Patrick’s relationship, but also the love and passion involved in it. He imitated the book well and stuck to the story while also having his own artistic and scenic vision. Grandage took his time to set the mood with the score and show the scene with the landscape.

The film, like the book, follows Marion, Tom, and Patrick and their complicated relationships with each other. At first, the movie rushes through scenes because it is showing only Marion and Tom’s relationship. After those were finished, we revisit the same scenes through the eyes of Tom and Patrick.

This was perfect because it made everyone question the fast pace of the film, but when the scenes of Patrick and Tom came to the screen, it all made sense. The contrast between the two relationships was shown through these scenes and translated very well. It is hard to feel sympathy for only one person. Marion had her husband cheating on her and Patrick and Tom had to hide who they were in fear of being arrested.

Many of the scenes were different from the book. In the book, Marion met Tom when she was very young and had a crush on him for years. However, they excluded any moments from their childhood, which would have added context to Marion’s crush on him.

The plot twist was written well, but the rage that Marion felt in the book was missing from the movie. It was still touching to watch, but it could have been tied together with more drama and less of a rush to finish scenes.

“My Policeman” is the representation that many LGBTQ+ people have been waiting for. It shows the experience that many queer people went through during the 50s and it is important to showcase that to people today. Though it is not perfect, it is a heartbreaking film that deserves a chance to be watched and shared.