‘My Policeman’ Under Arrest for Its Cinematic Brilliance
This article contains spoilers for “My Cop”.
Most movies based on books are mediocre, but not My Cop.
Inspired by the love triangle between a famous author, a police officer and his wife, My Policeman is the theatrical adaptation of Bethan Roberts’ novel of the same name.
Both the film and the novel place strong emphasis on the legal ramifications that men faced when entering into homosexual relationships in 1950s England.
The film begins with a flash-forward to the ’90s, where elderly Patrick Hazlewood (Rupert Everett) struggles with declining health and enters the home of Marion (Gina McKee) and Tom Burgess (Linus Roache). Marion agrees to take care of Patrick as his health is deteriorating, but Tom refuses to interact with Patrick for reasons unknown to viewers.
While taking care of Patrick, Marion discovers a stack of journals from his youth that reveal the truth behind the story of the three companions.
Set back in the 1950s, elegant and gentle young Marion (Emma Corrin) begins to develop her relationship with dashing Tom (Harry Styles). The prospective teacher and the policeman exchanged compliments, and their courtship seemed intentional.
While touring an art gallery, the couple first meet Patrick (David Dawson), Marion thought, a charming and intellectual museum curator.
Patrick’s journals, found decades later by the older Marion, contained his deep, passionate history with Tom, which she was previously unaware of.
Tom must navigate between his undisclosed sexuality and his marriage to Marion while dodging a possible arrest for homosexuality.
Though the transition from the ’90s to the ’50s throughout the film weakened the film’s cohesion, director Michael Grandage’s approach emphasizes the agony of expected heteronormativity and reflects the trauma real people experienced as a result.
Grandage creates a spectacle of Tom and Patrick’s heartbreaking and forbidden love while exploring the unjust obstacles faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Styles (“Don’t Worry Darling,” “Dunkirk”) and Dawson (“The Road to Coronation Street,” “Ripper Street”) have undeniable on-screen chemistry, reflecting intensity and passion in every scene. However, Dawson’s performance greatly overshadows Styles.
Similar to his performance in Don’t Worry Darling, Styles’ portrayal of Tom lacked originality and personality. However, Styles was perfect for the role as his lack of charisma and lack of star power proved well suited to portraying an underdeveloped character living inauthentically.
In contrast, Dawson delivers a magnetic presentation throughout the film, making this arguably his best performance yet. Dawson brings a seductive rawness to each emotional scene, proving to be the true protagonist of “My Policeman.”
Corrin (“The Crown,” “Pennyworth”) was cruelly short on screen time throughout the film, despite her eccentric and fresh performance. Together, Dawson and Corrin were the dynamic talent duo that made the film worth seeing.
Along with Grandage’s commendable casting choices, the brilliance of costume designer Annie Symons shone through the actors’ wardrobes. Each garment visually embodies the power struggle between young Patrick, Tom and Marion.
Patrick’s vibrant vests and shirts demonstrate his ability to express himself freely in comparison to Tom, as Tom is often depicted hiding behind his shiny and clean-cut badge and officer’s uniform. Compared to the two, Marion was given the bland and colorless costume items and visualized being unfairly sidelined by the other characters in My Cop.
Grandage brilliantly directs this heartbreaking love story and showcases the impact of LGBTQ+ oppression. It gives an understanding of what it’s like to live in a world where the law is against love.
Rated R, My Policeman is in select theaters now and streaming on Prime Video starting November 4th.
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