My Policeman parents guide

My Policeman Parent Guide

Despite the fine cast, this movie has too much sexual content to be recommended for most viewers.

Overall D+

Amazon: A policeman in 1950s Britain is torn between his feelings for his girlfriend and his passion for another man, at a time when homosexuality is a criminal offence.

Release date November 4, 2022

Violence C
Sexual Content D
Profanity C-
Substance Use C-

Why is My Policeman rated R? The MPAA rated My Policeman R for sexual content.

Run Time: 113 minutes

Parent Movie Review

When young police officer Tom Burgess (Harry Styles) responds to a routine traffic complaint he has no idea that the man who reported the accident is going to have a profound effect on his life. Patrick Hazlewood (David Dawson) is a museum curator, and he explodes into Tom’s life and that of his girlfriend, Marion Taylor (Emma Corrin) in a whirl of excitement. Soon Patrick is giving Tom and Marion guided tours of his museum, taking them to a recital, and exposing them to the opera. There’s just one catch: Patrick has more than a friendly interest in Tom and it seems that Tom might reciprocate those feelings.

Romantic triangles are a staple of the movies but this one manages to provide more tension than usual, primarily because in 1950s Britain, homosexual relationships are illegal and convictions result in prison sentences. Patrick has acknowledged his sexual orientation and lives accordingly, while doing his best to avoid the law. Tom, on the other hand, struggles as he tries to cope with his feelings for Patrick, obey the law he is sworn to uphold, and preserve his relationship with Marion. In no time frame would this complex emotional tangle be easy to sort out, but in the 1950s, it can only end in heartbreak.

In fact, the heartbreak is unending. The movie cuts between the 1950s and the 1990s when Marion (now played by Gina McKee) invites Patrick (Rupert Everett) into their home as he recovers from a stroke. As Tom (Linus Roache) steadily ignores him, Marion feeds, nurses, and talks to her old rival as he tries to speak. Patrick’s diaries are in a box of his personal effects, and they speak for him, giving a window into the past.

How you will feel about this film will depend significantly on your perspective on homosexuality; whether your opinions are traditional or contemporary. This is definitely a movie-with-a-message, a clear call for people to be allowed to have relationships with whomever they want. It certainly paints a devastating picture of the human and social toll of criminalizing homosexuality.

Also key to your reactions to this film will be your tolerance for negative content, of which there is plenty. There is a lot of sex in this film, some clothed, some shoulders-up, some with lots of back and side nudity (buttocks included). Although there are no scenes of genitals or breasts, the movie features extended sex scenes, gay and straight. It even includes sexual activity in public spaces: the parties remain clothed but it’s in very poor taste. There are also scenes of intoxication and some chilling moments of homophobic violence, all of which contribute to the movie’s well deserved Restricted rating.

I find My Policeman a difficult film to evaluate. The editing is poor, with cuts between the different time frames sometimes feeling forced or artistically self-conscious. All the cast, however, are highly persuasive and the characters’ emotions all feel real. The web of love, deceit, and betrayal that enmeshes the characters is spun with care and the pain that results is authentic. In fact, there is so much pain in this film that it’s difficult to forget – but also difficult to like.

Directed by Michael Grandage. Starring Harry Styles, Emma Corrin, Gina McKee. Running time: 113 minutes. Theatrical release November 4, 2022. Updated

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My Policeman
Rating & Content Info

Why is My Policeman rated R? My Policeman is rated R by the MPAA for sexual content.

Violence: There are frequent scenes of homophobic violence. A gay man is beaten and kicked by police. There’s mention of a gay man being beaten to death. A gay man has bruises on his face from a prison beating. A man punches and kicks a gay man leaving visible bloody injuries.
Sexual Content: There are scenes of men and women kissing. A man performs oral sex on another man but with graphic details off screen. There are scenes of men kissing. Men kiss and undress each other before going to bed where they are seen kissing passionately in an extended scene of sexual activity that involves visible buttocks. There is another, briefer sex scene with less detailed nudity. There is male side nudity in a sexual context. Two men have a fully clothed sexual encounter in public. A married couple have sex without nudity. A married couple have sex with non-explicit side and back nudity. A married man is shown in bed with another man but with no sexual activity. There is male buttock nudity in a post-coital setting. A woman says that she is a lesbian.
Profanity: There are fewer than a dozen swear words in the film, including eight terms of deity, a couple of minor profanities and a single sexual expletive. A homophobic slur is used and a gay man is described as a “sexual pervert”. A crude term for illegitimacy is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters smoke cigarettes frequently. Adults drink alcohol in social settings. A main character is shown intoxicated on a couple of occasions.

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My Policeman Parents' Guide

Why does Tom want to marry Marion? Does he consider her feelings or his own needs? What motivates Marion’s choices in the 1950s and in the 1990s? How does her opinion of love and happiness change over time?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

This film is based on the novel “My Policeman” by Bethan Roberts.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

For another LGBTQ romantic triangle you can watch The Half of It, which provides plenty of story without the sexual content.

The classic romantic triangle film is Casablanca, starring the unforgettable pair of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

For a lighthearted take you can watch Blithe Spirit, which sees a man caught between two women: his current wife and the ghost of his late wife.

In Sweet Home Alabama, a successful designer has to choose between two men: her current boyfriend or her soon-to-be ex husband who she married in her teens.

A complicated employment-related romantic triangle takes place in the teen film High Strung Free Dance.