“My Policeman” finds little passion in the mundane

Michael Grandage’s forbidden tale of gay love is as cookie cutter as it gets.



Michael Grandage’s new film fearlessly portrays the realities of the queer sexscape.

Within the first couple of minutes of “My Policeman”, it is evidently clear that a narrative of yearning is longing to be achieved by British-filmmaker Michael Grandage, and I am sorry to say, it is barely out of reach.

  Retold as a story by the now aged Marion (Gina McKee), we see the transpiration of a presumably innocent relationship between a young couple and another man on the brash backdrop of the British countryside, that abruptly reveals the story of the two men actually falling in love with each other – and how it affects all the parties involved. With predestined ends, and no escape from the truth, the film is a simultaneously cheery and dreary look at a complicated coterie of three people who desire yet cannot obtain, in a landscape designed to tear them apart.

  I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite films of this year, Sebastian Meise’s “Great Freedom” — another period piece revolving around a confidentially gay man, repressed by the law. The only difference is “Great Freedom” is an unflinching, poetically sorrowful and brutal film with infinite nuance and beyond spectacular performances, whereas “My Policeman”… isn’t.

   I don’t need to be the one to admit that the inclusion of supposed singer-turned-moviestar Harry Styles inherently drags down the quality of the projects he attaches himself to but it really matters here for a specific reason: This is intended to be an intimate film, though it is vital that the actors are as emotionally connected with the material as the filmmaker is, which isn’t the case here.

  Not only from the Styles angle but this entire film is composed of predominantly subpar performances on all fronts. Emma Corrin and David Dawson don’t spark much passion despite how much the story insists on its presence.

  Although, credit where credit is due, I have to appreciate any film that features on-screen gay love as a prominent aspect. Some of my favorite gay romances don’t shy away from the realities of the queer sexscape (Weekend, Shortbus, Mysterious Skin, Happy Together, etc.) and this film definitely puts the ability in vulnerability to convey the specifics of this illegally promiscuous relationship. 

  Although, it certainly starts to come off as disingenuous when you take into consideration just how poor of an actor Styles continues to prove to be. You don’t see much intimacy in these men as you do the idea of it, and the intolerance that surrounds them is so forced and accessible, the homophobia of the film’s universe doesn’t feel like a threat nor does the affair of the central plot (I mean, relationship).

  The location doesn’t offer the film much personality either, despite how beautiful it is on paper. I think in order to make a film pop it needs vigor, which this one desperately lacks. Is it pretty? Yes. Could it be even more pretty if it were to hold on the shot? Or make it look less digital? Yes, very.

  This film doesn’t lack heart because the heart is evident, even more so in its placement of said passion. The problem though is that the passion, beauty, and crux rarely translate due to its unwarranted pace, unenthusiastic style, and profoundly serviceable script.

  I’d say “My Policeman” is a well-shot, well-told story with a subpar ensemble and an egregious sense of cliché. As nice as it is to see one of the world’s most marketable men play a gay man on screen, I’d much prefer to see that credit go to a more talented actor — and in a more impressive film for that matter.

Final Verdict: 5/10