My Policeman (2022)
It’s a “…most tragic love story, and the most true because all love stories are tragic, aren’t they?” Indeed, in the mid twentieth century, gay love stories often were unfortunate.
Being gay in the 1950s was not easy, and being a gay couple was pretty much unheard of. This film, like many others, shows us the life that was lived in that time period by so many LGBT people. As much as I’ve seen many of these movies with a similar theme, I still think the story should be told.
I liked that this film had a unique way of laying out the story, and how it started showing Tom and Marion’s start at life together as seemingly “normal.” We know something is amiss with Patrick’s arrival, but we don’t know exactly what happened.
I enjoyed the pace of the film and the beauty of the cinematography which lent a certain mood. It mirrors the introspective nature of the story where each of the characters is inside themselves. I also liked the subtle juxtaposition of various elements and metaphor that was used. The story being told in the past and present and not so much on order gives us a feeling of disjointedness that is on purpose – these characters all feel the same.
As the past exposes more about the present, we see how each of these characters struggled. Tom is afraid and doesn’t see how a life with Patrick could be realized. He asks, “How do you do it? Live this life?” Patrick has already seen great loss by the time he meets Tom and realizes “what a wretched time we live in when one has to scurry underground like a criminal…” Marion is lied to and blindsided by their relationship. She knows she loves Tom, but even has reservations as they begin their lives together.
The toll taken on each of these characters is evident and painful. Each has their burden of trauma both physical and emotional. One of the most poignant scenes is when older Tom sees a young, gay couple being open and in a relationship. His reaction is heart-wrenching, and Marion sees this and must feel a certain way about it.
Sometimes a film will leave you with a feeling, and this one was unique. It left me grateful. Having grown up in the 1980s, I understand a part of what Tom felt. But I was lucky to have had so many LGBT people go before me to pave the path that I walk today. Tom and Patrick should have had an opportunity that didn’t exist for them, and Marion should have experienced a life that was fulfilling.
Late is not never, and Marion has set up a chain of events with Patrick’s arrival that will again change their lives forever. In this story, she is the brave one in the end. A theme here is the cost of living a lie, but we are shown that the cost doesn’t always have to be immeasurable or eternal. Love can be found for another person, but can also be shown to oneself in living the life we want and need.