my police, which had its world premiere today at the Toronto International Film Festival, has its roots in a novel by Bethan Roberts that was actually based on a complicated love affair between famed novelist EM Forster (A Room with a View, Howard’s End, Maurice), his 40-year-old male lover, a policeman named Bob Buckingham; and Buckingham’s wife, May Hockey, who slowly realized that her husband had a long-standing relationship with Forster, but even after having suffered a series of strokes, cared for the author in later life so deep was their friendship. Roberts changed the names and fictionalized it all for his book, which is now the basis of Ron Nyswaner’s book (Philadelphia) screenplay exploring the love triangle of three carefree friends in 1957, each hampered by the mores of the time, repressing rather than expressing their own sexuality, even as sexual desires and confusion reached a boiling point. boiling.
Bordering on a rather soapy premise, this is a first-rate production that keeps it classy, if somewhat sexually graphic, all the while thanks to its Tony and Olivier Award-winning director, Michael Grandage, and an excellent cast that has been split into two. with the decades. -story encompassing three young stars for the 1950s scenes and three older veterans playing the same characters in the 1990s. It’s a risky technique that doesn’t pay off as trios of older and younger actors don’t mesh each other believably, at least initially for me until I came to accept the casting ploy.
Plotwise Harry Styles in his second film of the festival season after last week’s Venice debut of Do not worry honey, stars as British cop Tom, who befriends spirited museum curator Patrick (David Dawson), as well as a more timid school teacher, Marion (Emma Corrin, also in a second festival film this week after the debut of Lady Chatterley’s Lover) who due to the times must contain her own growing sexual attraction to Tom. Eventually, however, most appropriately, Tom and Marion marry, not a loveless union but not a passionate one, and Marion can’t seem to contain her jealousy of Tom and Patrick’s “friendship.” With homosexuality illegal at the time, Patrick also has to take care of himself, but one day alone with Tom he makes a move that leads to a very physical and steamy clandestine affair that they both hide from Marion. It’s an ongoing game of deception even as Marion grows increasingly frustrated, perhaps suspecting something but trying to win the kind of lover in Tom that just isn’t there. It certainly is for Patrick, and Dawson and Styles do it without restraint in a bedroom scene that leaves little to the imagination.
Meanwhile, as indicated at the beginning of the film, things are different decades later and that’s where we see the now much older and gray-haired Marion (played by Gina McKee) arriving to care for a chair-bound stroke victim. of wheels that cannot speak. We eventually find out that this is Patrick (now played by a pensive Rupert Everett). At one point, when alone in her room, she finds a diary detailing her affair, the one she suspected, with her husband Tom, who is now played by Linus Roache as a seemingly content husband, long since separated from Patrick. once discovered The complications of what came before, the mutual agreement to move on and ignore what happened, and the need for closure provide another chapter yet to be written for these three lives.
Among do not worry honey Y my police Styles is quickly proving he’s the real deal as an actor, and he’s very convincing here as a man lost in deception with his wife. Corrin passionately made up in Lady Chatterley’s Lover what is missing from this off-kilter character who finally takes a stand but sadly so much time is wasted in the middle. Corrin is certainly showing a lot of range these days. Dawson is excellent in the sad position of just being who he is at a time when being gay is a crime. My times have changed, but they? With some openly wanting to ban same-sex marriage again, my police it seems oddly timed to take us back to darker days we thought were gone. Everett, McKee, and Roache are fine as far as contemporary scenes go, but I really wish they had aged up the trio of younger actors, which might have made this whole thing a little more compelling.
It is an attractive production and has always held my interest, but for me it does not reach its full potential. Producers are Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter, Cora Palfrey, and Philip Herd are producers. Ben Davis provides lovely cinematography and Steven Price’s score is excellent. It will begin streaming on Amazon Prime starting November 4, with a theatrical run beginning October 21.