My Policeman has, in some circles, been one of the most anticipated films of the year, due in large part to boyband heartthrob-turned-Grammy-winning solo artist Harry Styles serving as its leading man.
Based on Bethan Roberts’ 2012 novel of the same name, the period drama takes place in 1950s Brighton and follows a torrid love triangle between closeted policeman Tom Burgess (played by Styles), his wife Marion (The Crown‘s Emma Corrin), and his lover Patrick Hazelwood (The Last Kingdom‘s David Dawson) during a time when homosexuality was illegal in the UK.
Four decades later, older Patrick (Rupert Everett) moves into older Marion (Gina McKee) and older Tom’s (Linus Roach) Peacehaven home after suffering a stroke, and the film cuts between the two time periods in lengthy flashbacks after Marion discovers Patrick’s diaries detailing his love affair with her husband.
Watch My Policeman on Prime Video
While there’s no denying the film takes great care in recognising the tragedy of an era that forced gay people into either suppressing their sexuality or face persecution, it’s merely surface level.
Tom is the prize both Marion and Patrick desire, which is why at first it seems Styles was perfectly cast, as his charisma and star power make him the believable centre of this love triangle.
Beyond this, however, he falls short of conveying the necessary depth and inner turmoil of a repressed gay man torn between the socially accepted (though platonic) love he has for wife, and the heartbreakingly passionate, forbidden one he has for his lover.
While there are some moments of promise and raw emotion, his delivery often feels unnatural and his lack of experience in comparison to his seasoned co-stars shows.
Related: Harry Styles talks about “tender and loving” gay sex scenes in new movie My Policeman
Corrin puts in a solid performance as Marion, but it’s Dawson who’s the standout as worldly museum curator Patrick, radiating allure and refinement while permeating the heartache of a closeted life. One particular scene in which Patrick realises it’s not his policeman who has showed up to his work will have you reaching for the tissues.
Styles and Dawson do have chemistry, but the script doesn’t fully develop any of the characters and fails to convey the depth of Tom and Patrick’s emotional connection beyond passionate sex and their attraction to one another. The time-jump also leaves us wondering what’s transpired between them all over the past forty years.
Of course, it’s hard to feel anything but compassion for these three characters, who have all been robbed of love by intolerance. But overall, it’s a flat adaption that sadly had the potential to be much more.
How to watch My Policeman online at home
My Policeman is available to watch right now on Prime Video for all subscribers.
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If you don’t want to sign up to Amazon Prime, My Policeman is still playing in select cinemas, but you won’t find it in any of the major UK chains.
My Policeman is available to watch now on Prime Video.