Directed by Michael Grandage | Written by Ron Nyswaner from the novel by Bethan Roberts | 113 min | ▲▲△△△ | Amazon Prime
A version of this review appeared on FITI at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival in September.
I sometimes feel like French cinema has perfected the melodrama, so nobody else should attempt it. I felt that way with My Policeman, an aggressively average attempt at melodrama with a queer twist.
Pop star and fashionista of the moment, Harry Styles, is Tom, a copper in 1957 Brighton who’s been having an affair with museum curator, Patrick (David Dawson), while Tom is also trying to build a life with sweet, clueless Marion (Emma Corrin, who played Diana Spencer as sweet and clueless in The Crown). In the 1990s Tom and Marion (Linus Roache and Gina McKee) are still together, with Marion insisting on caring for an ailing Patrick (Rupert Everett). With the three middle-aged folks together and haunted by the past, old resentments bubble up.
The filmmakers here clearly feel that this story needs to be told to remind young queers not to take their freedoms for granted. Director Grandage actually said as much at TIFF after the screening of his film.
However, the messages the LGBTQ+ community has been sending to Hollywood for years now is, “No more tragic tales about our community, please!” Unfortunately, this is just another anachronistic tale of queer folks suffering that feels entirely out of place in 2022.
It doesn’t help that nothing from the 1990s portion of the story works, least of all the idea that a couple who’ve been together for 40 years would behave the way they do. That’s a shame because these are all veteran performers who would bring it if they were given anything to do that resembled real life.
Maybe the best takeaway from this and from the recent Don’t Worry Darling is Harry Styles is actually a pretty solid actor. While he absolutely works for this role, it would be great to see him in something where he could put more of his charm and talent up there, maybe some more song and dance.
He definitely brings the heat with Dawson. If you wanna watch Harry Styles get naked and make out with other actors, this is absolutely the movie for you, but you’re not likely to mistake it for any kind of classic.