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TIFF 2022: “My Policeman”

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Rating: 3 out of 5.

Back in the past, societies were not so tolerant towards people who were sexually attracted to individuals of the same sex. In Britain, for instance, either electroshock was used as a supposed cure for what was perceived to be an intolerable disease or were just sent to jail. Therefore, films like “My Policeman” continues shedding light on the past and how it impacted families.

“My Policeman” centers around Tom (Harry Styles) as a young police officer who falls for a man in the 1950s, when it was forbidden. Hiding behind the façade of marriage, he more or less survives the judgemental society. However, Patrick (David Dawson), a museum curator, longs for him as  they begin their dangerous love affair right behind the back of Tom’s wife Marion (Emma Corrin). Hopping from the past to the present, we witness the outcome of mistakes and fears made back in time, and now, the adult Marion and Tom must make their move.

It’s safe to say that Emma Corrin as young Marion, David Dawson as Patrick and Gina McKee as the older Marion carry the film. Harry Styles is excellent as a closeted officer, but when it comes to emotional scenes, there’s nothing he can extract out of himself, which makes his character Tom emotionally empty, which is not the case. Tom is a good man who happens to hide his true self, but continues loving his wife and cherishes every moment. But you can see he is different with Patrick; more fulfilled and himself, while with Marion he just pretends.

This is why I could not enjoy “My Policeman” as much as the film begs the audience to. The lack of acting experience or rather skills, Harry Styles does not let his character pass through time. It’s Linus Roache as the adult Tom who salvages the situation, allowing us to understand him more. Rupert Everett plays the elder Patrick, who was brought home by Marion to help recover from stroke. Screenwriter Ron Nyswaner cannot be wronged for the poor acting work, as Ron Nyswaner has written a beautiful script that outlines a forbidden romance in a beautiful way. So you can forgive Styles for his bad acting skills if you just want to enjoy the story. But if you are looking much more than that from him, better skip it and concentrate on other actors’ work, because they deserve the film to be seen just for them.

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