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Harry Styles’ My Policeman Is A Gripping, Important Story About How Society Failed Previous Generations Of Queer People

Harry Styles in My Policeman
(Image credit: Amazon)

Over the past few years there’s been a ton of conversation about representation in the media, with various studios crafting more diverse film and tv projects. It’s been a great year for LGBTQ+ stories, with movie projects like Joel Kim Booster’s Fire Island, Peacock’s slasher They/Them, and Billy Eichner’s Bros all arriving in quick succession. A gripping new drama called My Policeman is also releasing on Amazon this fall, starring none other than pop star/actor Harry Styles. And My Policeman is a gripping, important story about how society failed previous generations of queer people.

Anticipation for Michael Grandage’s My Policeman has been steadily building largely thanks to the inclusion of Harry Styles as the title character, with the movie recently having its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. In the film he plays Tom Burgess, a young police officer in 1950s Brighton. We watch as he falls in love with a woman named Marion (The Crown’s Emma Corrin), but eventually learn that there’s something else in the picture: the couple’s mutual friend Patrick (David Dawson) whom Tom is secretly having an affair with.

But the story isn’t a simple love triangle set in the 1950s. We also follow the same trio of characters decades later in the 1990s. We see as Adult Marion and Tom, played by Linus Roache and Gina McKee respectively, take in an ailing Patrick (Rupert Everett) who recently suffered a stroke and doesn’t have any loved ones to care for him. The reason behind his lack of companionship becomes clear as the movie goes on.

This two-tiered narrative makes My  Policeman a captivating watch as an audience member, as the mystery of the love triangle and how it eventually was “resolved” is methodically revealed throughout its 113-minute runtime. As are the mistakes made by the trio of characters, and and how those missteps were influenced by the attitudes and laws about homosexuality back in the 1950s. 

All six of these actors give strong performances in My Policeman, including Harry Styles. While there’s been a ton of chatter about his work in (and the drama surrounding) Don’t Worry Darling, Styles certainly rose to the occasion when bringing Tom Burgess to life for the screen. Equal parts charming and wounded, we watch as he struggles to find love and acceptance in a world that was not kind to LBGTQ+ people in the slightest. There was a press conference following my screening of the film, where Styles spoke about why this story appealed to him as an actor, saying:

To me the whole story is about wasted time. Wasted time is the most devastating thing because it's the one thing we can’t control, is the one thing we can’t have back… The whole story being about this wasted time. And going to the end where you find Linus’ character, it feels like a brief moment of acceptance which feels really wonderful. But it’s also still with this devastating knowing ‘If we were just braver. We wasted so much time.’ So there’s just complexities in every part of the story which I think is what makes it so interesting. Is that every piece of joy, even though it's very real, is laced with this other side to it.

The fact that so much progress happened in the decades between My Policeman’s two time settings is really a powerful thing to reflect on. Homosexuality was illegal and punishable by prison time in the ‘50s, with queer people never truly seeing a future where they could live with freedom from prosecution. This point is hammered down in one of the movie’s many emotional scenes, where adult Tom sees a gay couple, envying the progress the younger generations have been able to enjoy. 

While we may be seeing more queer stories in the media, it’s important to remember that are generations of LGBTQ+ folks that society ultimately failed. While this is a sentiment often associated with how the AIDS crisis was handled in the 1980’s, it also includes the countless people who weren’t able to come out or live their authentic lives. And with Harry Styles playing the leading role in My Policeman, perhaps this is a way for young people to really take in the stories of the past, and those who bravely tried to live in a world that was against them.

My Policeman is set to be released in theaters October 21st, before hitting Prime Video on November 4th. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

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Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.