Harry Styles Stars in his Second Movie of the Year

“My Policeman” book gains popularity after movie’s release.

Harry Styles Stars in his Second Movie of the Year

The Bethan Roberts’ 2012 novel “My Policeman” has gained recent popularity since its movie adaptation announcement and release on Oct. 21, making headlines as star Harry Styles plays the leading role of young police officer Tom Burgess. The story follows the romantic life and secret love affair of Burgess throughout the decades. Director Michael Grandage depicts the struggles and tragedy that strikes the lives of three lovers first told in Roberts’ novel, jealousy and oppression corrupting the trust of a marriage.

After a young Tom Burgess meets schoolteacher Marion Taylor on the Brighton coast in the late 1950s. He teaches her how to swim while she teaches him about art and literature. Once they begin dating, Marion is introduced to Tom’s colleague Patrick Hazelwood, a museum curator. The trio soon becomes inseparable, spending night after night in bars and theaters. While Marion’s love for Tom grows, iot is revealed that he and Patrick are involved in a disclosed homosexual relationship.

The novel’s version of Patrick Hazelwood refers to his queerness as his “minority status”, translating his belief that he will never be truly accepted by society and must deny this part of himself to be considered decent. This lack of acceptance is portrayed through Patrick’s timid movements towards Tom as they become acquainted, unsure if the young boy will turn violent towards the truth or if he is even sure of his own identity.

While the film focuses on the intensity of Marion’s love for Tom, many scenes look past her yearning. Though it is not shown on screen, Marion has known Tom since her childhood. She had grown up at his house, as she was best friends with his younger sister Sylvie, and developed a childlike crush on the teenage boy. As they matured, Marion became obsessed with their every interaction, making the confirmation of their relationship much more significant to her.

Marion had felt a deep resentment towards Patrick since their introduction, his closeness to Tom threatening her as if he was keeping the policeman from being truly hers. The film does not present this level of hatred until Marion and Tom’s honeymoon, where Patrick is also present. Marion becomes increasingly angry with the other man as she believes he is too involved in their lives, yet she is still blissfully unaware of the truth. 

Marion’s work friend Julia, though she is not a main character, remains one of the most significant characters of the story. Her influence on Marion plays an important part in her development, which cannot be understood in the film. She was able to bring out confidence in Marion and allow her to be an individual, rather than simply being Tom’s wife. Her flirtatious personality throughout the novel hints at her queerness, making her confession understandable rather than unexpected.

“My Policeman” ending remains timeless, as it deals with self-acceptance and the rekindling of wasted time. Marion’s decision to leave Tom embodies her character development, as it was a chance for Tom to love freely as he wished to decades ago. Tom’s first interaction with Patrick since their departure gave his life a rediscovered happiness. Grandage was able to capture the emotion of this scene by depicting a younger Tom hugging older Patrick, symbolizing that their love had never faded.