WORTH A LOOK?: ****
RELEASED: 4 November 2022, Prime Video
You join us in 1950s Brighton as Styles’ dashing policeman Tom Burgess meets Emma Corrin’s schoolmistress Marion, teaches her to swim and they fall in love.
- Read on for reasons including how Styles’ acting is naturalistic if a little rabbit-in-the-headlights
Tom introduces Marion to Patrick, a museum curator he met through his work, and the threesome develop a friendship with Marion and Patrick discovering they have a lot in common.
The screenplay then shifts from Marion’s perspective to Tom’s and we discover that Patrick is gay, Tom is closeted and their affair is happening even as Tom proposes to Marion.
This is the 1st film we’ve seen Styles in although in 2014 we did see his band One Direction at Wembley Stadium and his rabbit-in-the-headlights acting style is well suited to a part that even has the wordly Patrick marvelling at his innocence.
Dawson (Aristocrats, Donmar) is familiar to us through many recent theatre roles and his drawing of a character a little too sophisticated for the era he is living in yet capable of athletic forbidden love with a much younger man in thrall to his life yet unable to commit to a relationship is convincing.
But it’s actually Corrin’s Marion who we were most moved by. This is very much her story and the versatility of Corrin, we’ve seen them in wildly different roles in Netflix’s The Crown and onstage during their West End debut in Anna X, is so impressive and they’re simply able to transform themselves, chamaeleon-like, into any role and be completely unrecognisable.
This story is framed by another as we meet the characters much later in their lives as Marion takes Patrick into the home she shares with Tom to convalesce after a stroke and another element to the story is unveiled.
Gina McKee as the older Marion is a revelation as she discovers the truth about Tom and Patrick’s relationship through the latter’s diary and it allows her to make a decision about her life.
Everett (The Happy Prince) as the older, grumpier Patrick isn’t afforded much screentime but really makes his mark. The difference between gay life in the 50s in a location as familiar as Brighton and now is well drawn. This is a film based on a 2012 book by Bethan Roberts that very much views the story from a woman’s perspective and that is always refreshing.
Director Michael Grandage is best known for his work in theatre and we most recently saw his Frozen at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. He is reunited with Corrin once more but this time onstage at the Garrick Theatre this month in Orlando and for that we very much expect theatrical dynamite.
My Policeman however is a film that simmers nicely without ever actually catching fire.
- Main picture courtesy My Policeman Watch
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