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Review: ‘My Policeman’ shows that Harry Styles should stick to music

Graphic by Sarah Irwin

It’s no secret that Harry Styles has been making a major attempt in recent years to follow in the footsteps of other massively popular musical artists like Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga by dipping his toe in the realm of acting, showing that he’s a man of many talents as opposed to just a musician.

The recently released “My Policeman” is the next step in Styles’ shift to Hollywood as a whole. While the intentions are in the right place, the only thing the film is able to accomplish is proving that movies just aren’t his thing. 

The film follows Tom Burgess and his wife, Marion Taylor in the 1990s when their lives are interrupted by the arrival of their incapacitated longtime friend, Patrick Hazlewood, played by David Dawson, who begins living in their home. This brings back a flurry of memories from 40 years earlier when Tom and Patrick were having a passionate romantic affair in the 1950s when homosexuality was illegal. 

It’s important to note that the 2012 novel that ”My Policeman” is based on does not feature this 40-year time jump whatsoever, and focuses entirely on being a period piece set in the 1950s. Aside from the conclusion of the film, the ‘90s setting does not add anything to the film. More or less, the cuts disrupt the momentum and shoved into a story that doesn’t really need it. 

However, the ‘50s portion of the story is clearly the main draw of the film, considering little to no marketing features the older versions of the characters. 

Sadly, when it comes to the actual story, “My Policeman” is severely lacking in any soul or merit, only ever delving into the most surface level. In addition, the characters outside of the main trio are painted in the clearest black or white possible, leaving very little room for interpretation.

The performances of almost everyone involved range from awkwardly tone-deaf to simply doing the bare minimum. The leads all do a fine enough job with what they’re given, including Styles, although certain scenes reflect that the best take was not chosen for the final edit.

Overall, no singular performance really stands out as exceptional. This is only a major issue when the film itself is so dependent on these characters and their relationship dynamics, while onscreen they share very little chemistry whatsoever. 

“My Policeman” leaves a lot to be desired as an LGBTQ+ romance, and honestly deserves better treatment instead of simply using it as an excuse to have Styles in a homoerotic sex scene as it does here. Every other part of the film feels like it has secondary priorities behind having Styles look good on screen, and if that’s all you really need, then the film has succeeded.

However, if you’re looking for an honest and deeply engaging LGBTQ+ romance, you could do much better than “My Policeman.”

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