“How do you stand being alone?” asked Tom while lying in bed with his lover Patrick. Being homosexual during the 1950s was a lonely affair. Queers escaped to underground pubs to mingle with like-minded people, but the threat of the police always lurked in the background. Falling in love with a policeman couldn’t have been more dangerous, but Patrick chose to risk it all to be with his policeman, Tom. “My Policeman” explores the idea of forbidden romance during a time when being homosexual was a criminal offense. While Emma Corrin and David Dawson are brilliant in this romantic drama, Harry Styles’s below-par performance ruined the show. “My Policeman” does not dare to experiment and chooses to play it safe to appease a broader audience, making the film an average watch.
Marion had always had her eyes on the innocently handsome Tom. At the beach one morning, the two finally spoke to one another. Marion was a woman of culture; she was a schoolteacher who enjoyed literature and art. Tom, on the contrary, was a policeman unexposed to art. Marion enjoyed the fact that they were unlike each other. She did not have to be the sophisticated woman that she had to be in her everyday life. She could just enjoy herself without any judgment from the man she loved. After going out with Tom a few times, he introduced her to his friend, Patrick.
Patrick was the director of the Western art galleries in the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. He was passionate about art and culture and enjoyed sharing his vast knowledge with the people around him. He introduced Tom and Marion to the paintings of J. M. W Turner, particularly The Snowstorm. It is important to note that Patrick had asked Marion about J. M. W. Turner and how he wanted to read books on art. Marion did not think much about it and assumed it to be an honest interest. Tom and Marion barely went on dates by themselves; they were always accompanied by Patrick. Not that Marion did not enjoy Patrick’s company, but sometimes she wished to go out with Tom like a normal couple. The night the two went out as a normal couple was when Tom proposed to Marion, asking her to marry him. The two got married in a close-knit ceremony, and Patrick raised a toast to his favorite couple. Marion did not doubt Tom; she was convinced of her now-husband’s love for her, but she started to detest Patrick’s constant intervention in their marital life. Patrick stayed the night after their wedding to cook for the couple. The next morning, Marion looked through the crack of the cottage and found Patrick and Tom holding each other like lovers. She assumed that it was Patrick who encouraged Tom to behave a certain way and that she had to make the marriage work by keeping Tom close to her. The final blow for Marion was when Tom announced that he would be accompanying Patrick to Venice as his assistant. She despised Patrick for ruining her marriage. She knew that they were not just friends and that a vacation in Venice was not a business trip.
“My Policeman” juggles between what had happened in the past and how it affects the characters in the present. Marion and Tom are an old couple living in Peacehaven. Marion brought Patrick home, who was suffering from paralysis. She wanted to take care of him now that he was all alone and had no one to look after him. Tom was not happy with Marion’s decision; he refused to look at Patrick and maintained his distance from him at all times. Patrick grieved after learning that Tom was avoiding him and wanted him out of the house. “My Policeman” goes back to the past to answer what led to the present situation. Marion learned about the details of Patrick and Tom’s relationship from the diary Patrick kept when they were in love. Marion grasped that Patrick and Tom were together during the time she met Tom. By reading Patrick’s perspective on his relationship with Tom, she realized what the couple had to go through during a time when they were looked down upon. Life was neither easy for Marion nor Patrick, and Marion decided to live the remaining days of her life only for her own happiness.
After Patrick returned from his trip to Venice, he was arrested by the police. An anonymous person had reported him for being a homosexual. Tom was devastated. He returned home and confided in Marion that he was in a relationship with Patrick, and now that the police had arrested Patrick, they might get to him as well. Marion proposed that they hire a reputed lawyer, and she would stand in court as Patrick’s character witness. While she only had good words for Patrick in court, the diary written by Patrick, which was now with the police, made it obvious that he had a relationship with a policeman who was married to a schoolteacher. Patrick was found guilty and had to remain in prison for two years. Tom lost his job as a policeman. Marion continued to visit Patrick in prison; he always asked her about Tom, but Tom never visited him, knowing that it would lead to more rumors. Patrick had to endure physical torture in prison for his sexuality. He had lost his love and his life for being born a homosexual.
After forty years, Marion read Patrick’s diary and realized the relationship Patrick and Tom shared. Even after living with Tom for years, she knew that they always had a distance between them. He was never truly with her at all times. At the supermarket, when Tom noticed Nigel, Patrick’s nurse, and his friend sharing a moment of intimacy, he was reminded of the times he spent with Patrick. He could never forget how he felt when he was with Patrick. The times have changed, and queerness has become acceptable, but the time and opportunity he lost cannot be gained back. At night, Tom finally looked at Patrick from afar while he slept, and Marion noticed it from a distance. The next morning, Marion packed her bags and announced that she would be leaving Tom and staying with her sister. Before leaving him, she confessed that she was the one who reported Patrick to the police. She felt helpless when Tom accompanied Patrick to Venice. She believed her marriage would be destroyed if she did not take steps to stop Patrick. She blamed him for all that was wrong with her life and concluded that he was a sexual pervert who encouraged her husband’s queer tendencies. Marion wrote an anonymous letter to the museum confirming that Patrick was a homosexual. She did it to save her marriage, but she regretted it the very next day. Her guilt was the reason why she stood by Patrick in court, and even after all these years, she chose to help Patrick in every way possible. But she believed that in the process of trying to win her husband back, she forgot to live her life.
She never wanted to live in Peacehaven; she was there only because of Tom. She was alone even after living with a person for years, and she wished to change that. She asked Tom to take care of Patrick if he could and left the house. Tom walked to Patrick, who was seated in a wheelchair. He touched his shoulder just the way he did the first time he went to Patrick’s house. Patrick and Tom were finally together, while Marion felt liberated after leaving her unfulfilling marriage. She was with Tom because she loved him, but she realized that she was never truly happy with him. They were together out of societal expectations, but now it was time for them to seek happiness wherever they found pleasing.
Homosexuality continues to be illegal in around 69 countries to date. Queer people continue to be murdered for their sexuality. But on the brighter side, the world has become more accepting of queer individuals. When Tom noticed how gay couples could be openly together now, he reminisced about the romantic days spent with Patrick. Tom did not have the courage to accept who he was; he was ashamed of himself. He never dared to speak about his forbidden love, and in the end, he suffered from regret. He did not just ruin his life but also Marion’s life, who chose to be with him through thick and thin. He could not give her the happiness that she deserved. Instead, she became an accessory to prove his straight life. Gay men marrying women and having lovers behind their backs is a common phenomenon. But it is a selfish choice no matter what the circumstance. Tom married Marion to have a successful career and have children, both reasons catering to his own interests. Tom never truly cared about Marion’s emotions; he knew that she was silently suffering, yet he chose to neglect it, knowing that his social life would be affected by her absence. After forty years, it was Marion who felt guilty for what had happened in the past. She was kept in the dark when Tom married her, yet she never held it against him and realized that what she did to Patrick was not justified. The fact that Marion chose to take care of Patrick even after knowing the past shows the courage and kindness she possessed. Unlike Tom, Patrick never felt guilty about who he was. Maybe his exposure to literature and art was the reason he never perceived his queerness as unholy. He was repulsed by the time they were living in; he despised hiding and making love in the shadowed alleys. He knew his lover was slipping away from the day he decided to live a straight life by marrying a woman, yet he agreed to live with it and share the love with the woman in his life. But of course, such arrangements are never long-term, and their relationship, too, came to a tragic end.
“My Policeman” is a polished depiction of the treatment of queers in 1950s Britain. It is this detachment that results in the film’s lack of impact on the audience.
“My Policeman” is a Drama Romance film directed by Michael Grandage.
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'My Policeman' Ending, Explained: Who Had Reported Patrick To … – DMT