Monday, October 24, 2022

A less-than-arresting ‘My Policeman’

 My Policeman deals with the sadness of lives that have been deformed by laws and values that changed too late for its principal characters to reap the benefits of social advancement. The movie examines the relationship between two men and a woman during the 1950s, a time when homosexuality was against the law in Britain. We meet the same characters in the late 1990s after the law and attitudes have evolved. Based on a novel by Bethan Roberts, the movie uses two sets of actors to play its characters as young people and as senior citizens.  Emma Corrin plays the young woman in this triangle with Harry Styles and David Dawson playing the men. In this case, the older actors (Linus Roach, Gina McKee, and Rupert Everett) don’t look enough like their younger counterparts to keep from being a debilitating distraction. Director Michael Grandage keeps the tone steady as Styles’ Tom (a policeman by trade) and Dawson’s Patrick (a museum curator) negotiate the difficulties of being gay in a country that won’t allow them to be themselves, something that Tom has trouble with on his own. Looking for cover and continuity, Tom marries Corrin’s Marian. Unsurprisingly, the two don’t live happily ever after. In the '90s scenes, Patrick -- disabled by a stroke -- is brought by Marion to share Tom and Marion's Brighton home.  My Policeman asks us to feel the weight of suppression that warps the lives of three people but the story’s tight focus and split narrative produce a dreary, often stale affair.

No comments: