By Mark Fields

The British – in both literature and cinema – seem to have a particular penchant for achingly sad, even ill-fated love stories. My Policeman continues that custom. The film stars pop singer and occasional actor Harry Styles as Tom, a deeply closeted gay man in 1950s seaside England. Despite his strong attraction to museum curator Patrick (David Dawson), Tom seeks the safety of a traditional marriage with the misled Marion (Emma Corwin, The Crown). The deception comes back to the surface when the three are unexpectedly reunited decades later as older adults; in these sequences, the three are played by Linus Roache, Rupert Everett, and Gina McKee. Ron Nyswaner’s screenplay teases this revelation out over the two-hour course of the film, which alternates scenes between 1950s and the present. Both Michael Grandage’s deliberate direction and the contemplative, piano-heavy score emphasize the heartache. But despite the solid performances and the touching premise, the film ultimately suffers from the utter incredulity the viewer experiences that this relationship dilemma has not been acknowledged for so many, many years. Thus, the resolution seems long-overdue and yet still forced.