My Policeman Plot Synopsis
Based on Bethan Robert’s novel of the same name, My Policeman tells the story of closeted gay policeman Tom who falls in love with museum curator Patrick in 1950s Brighton.
Unfortunately, Tom and Patrick are bound by the legalities of the time which forbid them from having an openly gay relationship. As a consequence, they meet in secret, but as Tom is engaged to be married to a schoolteacher called Marion, the two men don’t have the opportunity to spend a great deal of time together.
The film regularly flashes forward in time to the 1990’s and this gives us the opportunity to reconnect with each character. We learn that Tom and Marion remained together after getting married and that the relationship between Tom and Patrick ended.
When Patrick has a stroke, Marion brings him into her home so she can act as his carer. Tom is unhappy about this, presumably because he doesn’t want a reminder of the love affair he had decades before. He refuses to spend any time with his former lover but when Marion does something that takes both Tom and the audience by surprise, he is given the incentive to reconnect with Patrick.
Do Tom and Patrick get a second chance at love? Or is it too late for them to resume their relationship? Let’s take a closer look at the film:
How do Tom and Patrick meet?
When Patrick witnesses an accident, he calls on Tom for help and the two men strike up a friendship soon after.
Patrick is an aspiring artist and he invites Tom into his home so he can draw his portrait. But when the two men are together, it quickly becomes apparent that they have sexual feelings for one another. At first, Tom is reluctant to go to bed with Patrick and this is because he doesn’t feel free to express his sexuality.
However, this reluctance eventually gives way to passion and it’s not long before the two men start to become intimate with one another.
Why is Tom afraid to express his sexuality?
Homosexual acts were against the law in the 1950s and anybody found engaging in them was in danger of being thrown into prison. This is one reason why Tom was afraid to express his sexuality but his engagement to Marion was another.
As he had been told by a superior officer that being a bachelor was a barrier to climbing the ranks as a policeman, he felt he had to get married to climb the career ladder.
He also wanted to have a family and as he had some feelings for Marion, he decided that married life was the best way forwards for him, even though it meant keeping his sexuality hidden.
Does Marion find out the truth about Tom’s sexuality?
After Tom and Marion move into their marital home, she suspects something is going on between her husband and Patrick when she spots them in one another’s arms in the nearby barn.
Tom later takes a trip to Venice with Patrick and he tells Marion that it is strictly for business. She has an inkling that he is lying however, and when he returns she confronts him about his relationship with Patrick. Tom confesses to his homosexuality but thinking that she might be able to ‘change’ him, Marion doesn’t give up on her marriage.
To ensure Tom’s faithfulness, Marion then does something to end his relationship with Patrick.
How does Marion break up Tom and Patrick’s relationship?
Patrick is arrested for being gay and it turns out that Marion was the person who ‘outed’ him. This isn’t something we find out until later in the film as Marion keeps this secret from Tom for many years.
Marion decides to give Patrick a character reference in court and this is presumably because of the guilt she feels in outing him. Her reference has little effect, however, as he is sentenced to prison for two years.
At court, extracts of Patrick’s diaries are read out by the prosecution and Tom’s involvement with Patrick is suspected. Tom is spared jail as Marion and Patrick remain quiet about the relationship but we later discover these suspicions caused Tom to lose his job as a policeman.
Tom doesn’t visit Patrick in prison and they don’t see each other until decades later. They finally meet again when Marion becomes Patrick’s carer although Tom initially refuses to spend time with his former lover, much to Patrick’s dismay.
Why does Marion become Patrick’s carer?
The answer is likely guilt as Marion felt responsible for her husband breaking up with the person he truly loved. By taking care of Patrick and by connecting him with Tom again, she presumably felt she was doing right by both of them.
Unfortunately, Tom is angry when Marion brings Patrick back into his life but this doesn’t mean that he no longer loves him. He is probably afraid of the reminder of the love he once lost and having Patrick so close is probably too painful for him to bear.
We get a sense of his pain when he starts to cry after seeing two gay men being affectionate in a shop as this is another reminder of the love he wasn’t able to have himself when he was younger.
Marion notices his tears and this, combined with Patrick’s diaries which she has recently read, causes her to do something that will change Tom’s life for the better.
What does Marion decide to do?
It’s clear from Patrick’s diary entries that he and Tom had a deep love for one another. After realising this, Marion decides she can no longer remain married to Tom as she knows it won’t make either of them happy. She tells Tom that she feels responsible for his break up with Patrick and confesses to outing Patrick years before.
To give them both a chance of happiness, she tells Tom that she must leave. Tom doesn’t want her to go as he will be alone but Marion insists it’s for the best and tells Tom he won’t be alone because he has Patrick.
Marion calls a taxi and makes her exit. As she is driven away, she places her hand outside of the car window to feel the breeze on her skin. This is indicative of the freedom she now feels after leaving her loveless marriage to Tom and while we never find out what happens to her, we can only hope that she one day found the happiness that had been eluding her for most of her adult life.
Do Tom and Patrick get a second chance at love?
Marion’s departure gives Tom the incentive to enter Patrick’s room. Tom takes his hand and they hold one another. The movie ends seconds later but it can be assumed that they now have the chance to resume the relationship that ended decades before.
As they are now free to love one another without risk of imprisonment, and as Marion has left, there is now nothing to stand in their way of happiness.
Read More: My Policeman Movie Review