The Reel Review
When an ailing Patrick arrives at Tom and Marion’s home in 1990s Brighton, England, it sparks memories of their messy love triangle 40 years prior – and a tragic, life-changing event – in this romantic drama starring Harry Styles (Don’t Worry Darling), Emma Corrin (The Crown) and Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding). The film is based on Bethan Roberts’ 2012 novel.
Told via a series of flashbacks via Gina McKee (Notting Hill, The Ghost Writer) as the older, wiser Marion reading the journal of a stroke-stricken Patrick – as portrayed by Everett – My Policeman is a sad but frustratingly over-simplified drama about the hardships gay people had to endure just a few decades ago, when homosexuality shockingly was an imprisonable crime.
David Dawson and Harry Styles in My Policeman
The production design, the acting and the appropriately melancholic score are all adequate. But Ron Nyswaner’s superficial, wafer-thin script is a real missed opportunity – a shockingly over-simplified, soulless tale of queer representation that pales in comparison to the real-life relationship on which the novel and film are loosely based – between novelist E.M. Forster (A Room with a View, Howards End, A Passage to India) and Bob and May Buckingham. Even more disappointing – the film sputters out of gas just as it is about to get interesting.
• Novelist E.M. Forster maintained an unconventional, decades-long relationship with policeman Bob Buckingham and Bob’s wife May, who became his caregiver at the home they all shared together prior to Forster’s death from a stroke in 1970.
• Originally Lily James (Downton Abbey, Yesterday) was set to star but was replaced by Emma Corrin when she dropped out of the project.
• Director Michael Grandage says Harry Styles memorized the entire script prior to filming and could recite any character’s line in each scene.