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my policeman


starring: harry styles, emma corrin, david dawson, and rupert everett


REVIEWER: nick tonkin

The arrival of Patrick into Marion and Tom's home triggers the exploration of seismic events from 40 years previously.

My Policeman is a romantic drama directed by Michael Grandage based on the 2012 novel of the same name starring Harry Styles as Tom Burgess, a gay policeman in 1950’s Brighton who struggles with his feelings for museum curator Patrick Hazlewood (David Dawson) in a hostile society and the affections of Marion Taylor (Emma Corrin), a young schoolteacher.


My Policeman explores the predicament these three people find themselves in across two time periods; one in the 1950’s and the other around 40 years later. In the 50’s period the film initially presents the sequences of events from Marion’s perspective; how her relationship with both Tom and Patrick developed. It does the same with the later time period as the older Marion (Gina McKee) learns things about their past as she spends time with Patrick (Rupert Everett), now a stroke victim in need of considerable assistance in everyday life.


The drama of the film first arises when the film takes young Tom’s perspective and we learn that he and Patrick have developed a deep and loving relationship, with young Marion serving as an inadvertent beard for the two men in the early stages of their relationship. This is continued and compounded in the later period when old Marion confesses to causing something in their past that altered the course of her and Tom’s life and profoundly affected the rest of Patrick’s. 


This split approach is an admirable narrative direction, though this film doesn’t quite bring out the best in its otherwise capable cast to render the journey as compelling as it should really be. The exception however is certainly David Dawson as the young Patrick. He allows you to feel what Patrick does when he finds something valuable in Tom, and especially later when Tom pulls away and starts a life with Marion.


To contrast his performance with Harry Styles shows that while Styles is a serviceable actor, despite having few credits to his name, he doesn’t quite bring the kind of depth to his roles that films like this really benefit from. Though how much of this here is due to direction I’m not sure, as other performances from the cast such as McKee and Corrin as the old and young Marion’s respectively seem to feel similar to Styles' especially when contrasted to Dawson.


My Policeman is an affecting drama that boasts Harry Styles’ star power and great key performance from David Dawson, but doesn’t quite have the strength beyond this to drive it all home, despite an interesting parallel narrative approach. 


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