My Policeman (Movie Review): Cast Shines in Fascinating Adaptation

Great performance elevates my policemana gripping film about love, loss and prejudice, centered on three people who unwittingly destroy themselves.


Adapted as a film 2011 novel by Bethan RobertsMichael Grandage (Genius) my policeman began its festival, and its early reviews from TIFF and the Hamptons Film Festival were lukewarm to say the least, with critics calling the film “average” and “uninspired”. I just saw this highly anticipated adaptation at the BFI London Film Festival, where it is currently making its European premiere, I’m here to tell you not to listen to them: my policeman is actually a great movie.

Like the novel, the book follows three people in two key moments of their lives: in the 1950s and in the 1990s. It’s the characters from the 1990s that we meet first: retired teacher Marion (Gina McKee, of In the loop) has just welcomed an old friend into the home she shares with husband Tom (Linus Roache, of batman begins) in Peacehaven. The friend in question is Patrick (Rupert Everett, of The wedding of my best friend), who needs a lot of care because he is terminally ill and disabled, he just had a stroke. Even though Marion, Tom and Patrick were close in their youth, Tom is not happy to have his old friend around, so much so that he doesn’t even want to see him. We can say a lot has happened in these forty yearsand the film soon takes us back to the 1950s, when they were young, carefree and hopeful.

And so, we find out how Tom (now played by don’t worry darlingby Harry Styles) and Marion (The crown‘s Emma Corrin) first met, the first, a policeman, teaching the girl to swim, and the second, a scholar, talking to the boy about literature and art – which he knows nothing about. Soon a romance was born, and Tom takes Marion to an exhibition, because a man who had reported an accident to him a few days before was a museum curator and invited them to go. The man, Patrick (David Dawson, of Peaky Blinders), gets along very well with Marion, with whom he bonds intellectually, and the three immediately become friends. Eventually, Marion and Tom get married, but something is going on with her husband that the girl can’t quite figure out, and we’re about to find out what it is.

Harry Styles and Emma Corrin star in My Policeman, out November 4 on Prime Video (Parisa Taghizadeh, © Amazon Content Services LLC)

Something that my policeman handles as well, if not better, than the novel how the many secrets of this story are revealed not only to the characters, but also to the audience. The book is divided into sections, each told in the first person by one of the characters, and the two main perspectives we get are 1990s Marion reminiscing about her youth and 1950s Patrick, through her journal entries. The film initially reflects this, as the first point of view we get is of Marion, when she welcomes Patrick into her home. But when we go to the 1950s, even before Marion started reading Patrick’s diaries, forty years later, we are shown exactly the same times – Tom and Marion reuniting and eventually meeting Patrick – first as it would look to an outside observer, then as it actually happened. If in the novel we discover the truth at the same time as Marion, since we read Patrick’s novels with her, the film gives us clues firstwhich makes the storytelling much more effective because everything happens in the moment and isn’t filtered by the pages of a diary or Marion’s point of view.

Thus, even before Marion discovers the whole truth about what happened in the 1950s, we discover in detail the blossoming of another idyll, that between Tom and Patrick – which puts the events we have seen before in a completely different light. We’re able to capture the full picture before the protagonist does, but there are still more secrets to uncover – some still unknown to most characters – that will shed even more light. what exactly happened in the past to separate these three friends.

my policeman is a compelling watch from start to finish, thanks to a combination of factors. First, the movie is incredibly well written. Screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (philadelphia cream) takes the time to really introduce us to these characters, making us care about them from the first moment we see them, and it’s truly a joy to watch them become friends, just as it’s heartbreaking to witness change in the 90s. The curiosity to know their past is what interests us, but there is also more than that: Marion, Patrick and Tom are psychologically compelling characters, each of them being a good, well-meaning person who makes choices that affect others out of love, fear, or rage. We don’t blame them for their decisions, as they are ultimately dictated by the times they lived in, when expectations placed on marriage were extremely high and gay men were considered “sex deviants.” It is a very complex relationship that we witness in both timelines, one marked by desire and discovery, the other by fear, regret and irreparable harmand both by socio-political rules and behaviors that prevent us from approaching our three characters with anything other than compassion.

loud and clear reviews My Policeman 2022 film movie amazon prime video lff
Gina McKee and Rupert Everett star in My Policeman, out Nov. 4 on Prime Video (Parisa Taghizadeh, © Amazon Content Services LLC)

As three leads, all of the tracks are excellent, making the younger and older version of each always believable and cohesive. The stars are undoubtedly Rupert Everett and Gina McKee as Patrick and Marion from the 1990s, and David Dawson as Patrick from the 1950s. All three give us performances that really touch us on an emotional level, from different manners. Rupert Everett breaks our hearts with mere looks and whispered words, embodying a man who has been through so much, and whose body failure is a constant reminder of his inability to communicate with the one person who would be able to give him what he has desired so much for his whole life: acceptance and love. As young Patrick, David Dawson complete this portrait by showing us the man he was, and still is, deep inside. Dawson’s chemistry with Styles and Corrin is outstanding, and 1990s Patrick comes across as a tormented old soul stuck in a younger body, capable of fun but also haunted by his past and future. Gina McKee excels at portraying a character who is both the same good-hearted, giving young girl she was and a much more disillusioned woman looking for not just answers, but also forgiveness.

Harry Styles and Emma Corrin are also excellent in my policeman. Styles was the perfect choice for the role, and his acting skills have definitely improved since. don’t worry darling: young Tom was not an easy character to play, and Styles manages to convey all the conflicting emotions of a confused young man who means no harm but finds himself stuck in the middle of two relationships, while trying to understand not only what his wants and desires are, but also whether it is okay to have them. Emma Corrin is not as present in the film as Dawson and Styles, but she still marks the young Marion, conveying all the hopes of a girl in love and the misfortune that comes when illusions are shattered, to give way to doubt, to jealousy, and fear. Linus Roache doesn’t have many scenes in the film either, but it still conveys the same stiffness as its younger counterpart, showing us a man who ceased to live the moment he stopped embracing his true self. As a colleague and friend of Marion, maddie rice (Flea bag) also shines, providing us with an utterly unexpected, poignant scene that gives the film a lot of meaning.

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But my policeman also contains a lot of light and even funny moments. The trio’s adventures in the 1950s are sure to bring a smile to your face, reminding you of your youth and carelessness. Later in the movie, there are a few scenes that are sure to make you laugh, like Marion and Tom’s hilarious first night together as newlyweds.

When our trio first meet, Patrick tells Marion “Anna Karenina”, describing Tolstoy’s novel as “the most tragic love story in literature, and also the truest, because all love stories are tragic.” my policeman is both of those things, but it’s also a tale with no good or bad characters, where the real evil is the societal constraints that don’t allow our protagonists to be free, filling them with guilt and regret and eventually bringing them to defeat each other. But my policeman is ultimately a story about forgivenesswhere the journey is just as important as the resolution and where no one is really to blame: in this “tragic love story” there is also room for hope.


my policeman premiered at the 2022 BFI London Film Festival on October 15, 2022 and will be released in US theaters on 21st of October and worldwide on Amazon Prime Video on November 4.

My Policeman: Trailer (Amazon Prime Video)

Read our list of films to see at the London Film Festival this year.

About Herbert L. Leonard

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