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Laramie Movie Scope: My Policeman

A tragic love triangle

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 18, 2023 – This is a fairly standard “woe is us, we're societal outcasts” story about homosexuality in England in the 1950s. Although the story is thin, the acting is very good. Directed by Michael Grandage, this movie is based on a 2012 novel of the same name by Bethan Roberts.

Patrick (played by David Dawson of “All the Old Knives”) director of a museum in Brighton, happens to meet a policeman, Tom (played by Harry Styles of “Don't Worry Darling”) and the two of them fall in love. Their sexual relationship is illegal in England at the time (1957). Both of them will lose their jobs, and possibly face prison time, if they are found out.

At around the same time Tom and Patrick meet, Tom is also romancing a woman, Marion (Emma Corrin of “Lady Chatterley's Lover”). Against Patrick's advice, Tom marries Marion. Tom is traditionally minded and wants to have children. He tries to have it both ways, spend time with both Patrick and his wife, and maintain both relationships. Not a great plan.

All of this part of the story happens in flashbacks in the movie, which opens years later, when Patrick has had a stroke, and requires care. Marion, knowing something about her husband's relationship to Patrick, takes him in and cares for Patrick at their home. Tom objects to this and refuses to have anything to do with Patrick.

Older Marion, Patrick and Tom are played by Gina McKee (“Phantom Thread”) Rupert Everett (“My Best Friend's Wedding”) and Linus Roache (“Non-Stop”). Even though homosexual relationships are no longer illegal, or even overtly discriminated against, Patrick and Tom remain separated, even though they live in the same house. This is like a civilized, mannered British version of “Brokeback Mountain.”

The reason for their estrangement is complicated, but it has to do with both of them losing their jobs, and becoming societal outcasts. The root of the conflicts between Tom, Patrick and Marion is the result of years of failing to fully communicate with each other about their tangled, emotional triangle. Tom has been living for years in denial about his true feelings for Marion and Patrick.

In addition, Marion has long been keeping her own secrets about her own role in these dramas as well. Finally, Marion has had enough of this untenable situation and forces the issue after reading Patrick's journals and learning of the true depth of feeling between Tom and Patrick.

There are some holes in the plot, and it seems unlikely this drama would have continued for so many years. It seems an awful long time for the elephant in the room to stay hidden. The actors are all very good and very convincing, and that helps make up for the shortfall in the story.

The sombre mood of the film, set in Brighton and the seaside town of Peacehaven, is bolstered by the scenery around Brighton and Hove, expertly lensed by Ben Davis, who also shot the acclaimed film, “The Banshees of Inisherin,” released the same year. This movie rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2023 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]