‘My Policeman’: what could’ve been the best queer movie in a long time

Written By Kylie Thomas, Co-Features/A&E Editor

This summer I heard about a novel to be adapted into a movie featuring Harry Styles. Even more intriguing, I found out it was a period gay novel in the 1950s about a man torn between the woman he loves and the man he loves. So while I was amused by the title of “My Policeman,” I indulged in the novel and couldn’t wait for the movie; which was released on November 4 on Amazon Prime Video. 

The story in the book focuses on two different love story narratives or points of view about Tom (Harry Styles), a policeman. The first is from Marion (Emma Corrin), a young woman who is in love with Tom who she knows as her best friend’s brother. The second is from Patrick (David Dawson), an older museum curator who also fell for Tom after seeing him on the street. 

However, the movie doesn’t show a specific point of view and instead has an omniscient quality to it. This is the movie’s first mistake in its adaptation since it takes away the intimate nature the book had. What follows this change is a variety of other issues that make this otherwise beautiful movie disappointing. 

The issue with not showing a direct point of view is that Marion’s story is essentially erased from the movie. While the novel mainly focuses on Marion’s thoughts and feelings, the movie focuses on the relationship between Tom and Patrick instead. If I had to say who the main character is in the book it’s definitely Marion but in the movie it’s Tom. It’s a weird change for someone who has read the novel but those who haven’t read it wouldn’t even bat an eye at the narrative.

Now, I won’t say that this ruins the entire movie. Outside of the changes from the novel the movie is a bewitching emotional rollercoaster. Harry Styles’ character Tom shows more emotion than he does in the book and this actually benefits the film. He portrays a troubled character, deeply in love with two different people as he battles to choose between what is right and what his heart feels. 

David Dawson does a great job at responding to Tom as Patrick. He presents as an older, more confident gay man but still has insecurities that align with Tom’s. I will also say the ending that occurs with these two characters was done beautifully. Without spoiling anything, just be prepared to have a box of tissues by your side towards the end. 

But again, I can’t even characterize Marion’s character because her feelings are barely portrayed throughout the movie only for her to explode at the end. It seems like the creators of the movie wanted to focus on the physical gay relationship rather than tell the tale that author Bethan Roberts carefully crafted. 

While the movie is alluring and entertaining, it doesn’t live up to the story that Roberts wrote, which had so much potential. Rather, it’s a disappointing try at integrating queer narratives into media. It reminds me a lot of “Call Me By Your Name.” The book “Call Me By Your Name” impacted my emotions in ways I didn’t know were possible. Not only could I relate to the narrative in the book, but it put me through tears, laughter, and so much more. But, the movie focuses closely on the physical relationship between the two queer main characters rather than the emotional story beneath it all. Basically you have a bunch of physically intimate scenes and few actual conversations between the two. 

I would still recommend the movie “My Policeman” to any queer person or anyone who loves a heartwrenching romance. But this movie doesn’t deserve praise just because Styles is featured in it or just because it’s queer. If you’re looking to truly admire the story of “My Policeman” and learn about queer history, read the novel instead. It’s honestly a better way to spend your time than watching the film.