Monday, May 27, 2024

Now Showing: Harry Styles film My Policeman packs a gay punch

Gay-themed My Policeman is now playing in theaters and streaming on Prime Video starting November 4.

Harry Styles has hot and passionate gay sex in his latest film, My Policeman. Yes, it’s true. Arguably the top male pop star of our time, his romantic scenes with David Dawson are alone worth the price of admission. Styles plays bisexual copper (Younger Tom) who in 1950s Brighton is attracted to a very gay museum worker (Younger Patrick, played by David Dawson).

They embark on a risky and potentially career-ending, life-threatening love affair, which becomes even more complicated when Styles’ character declares he would like to bring a wife (Emma Corrin, Younger Marion) into the arrangement. I was reminded of Mick Jagger’s acting spell in the 1970 crime drama Performance, in which the rocker played bisexual to some acclaim. With some parallels, in My Policeman, Styles delivers a committed and focused performance as his character navigates the attraction and intimacy he enjoys with Patrick while also desiring the convenience and cover afforded by his marriage to earnest but naive schoolteacher Marion.

My Policeman charts the fate of this triangle over several decades, and the film shines most in its earlier period scenes when Styles, Corrin (whose character is almost shockingly sheltered and conventional) and Dawson enjoy and then outgrow the asymmetry of their triangle.

Less convincing, but nevertheless still poignant were the later scenes set in the 1990s when we see the emotional and physical fallout of the relationship between the older Patrick (Rupert Everett), Tom (Linus Roache), and Marion (Gina McKee). As a gay woman I felt terribly for the older Marion who had become the reluctant carer for a now invalid Patrick, as her husband Tom refused to acknowledge that he still had feelings for the gay fling of his youth. I wasn’t quite convinced that Tom would have retreated so forgetfully into his passionless and quietly domestic routine with Marion, nor that she would skip over her painful discovery as a newlywed of the two men’s affair.

Nevertheless, My Policeman is an unusually deep and searing drama, written by Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) from the book by Bethan Roberts, directed by Michael Grandage. The depictions of what life was like in 1957 Brighton for gay men, with cops routinely beating up and even killing men at gay beats and bars, is an important reality to revisit and remember. Perhaps My Policeman is about both our willingness to imprison and punish ourselves; and to forget — collectively, and personally — and so cheat ourselves out of great love and liberation, which always requires great risk.

My Policeman is now screening in theaters and comes to video on demand on November 4.

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Merryn Johns

Merryn Johns is the Editor-in-Chief of Queer Forty. She is an award-winning journalist, as well as a broadcaster and public speaker. Originally from Sydney, Australia where she began her career in journalism in the 1990s, she is based in New York City where she became the editor-in-chief of Curve Magazine and wrote for a variety of publications including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Slate, and more. Follow on Twitter at @Merryn1

Merryn Johns has 140 posts and counting. See all posts by Merryn Johns

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