In 1960, Penguin Books was put on trial for its publication of D.H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The prosecution accused the book of obscenity, referring, in particular, to its numerous, exhaustively descriptive sex scenes. It’s a piece of literary history that many are at least partially aware of. But while people tend to focus on the scandalous words on the page, one of the most important elements of Chatterley’s past is that Penguin was found not guilty because, in large part, the courts deemed the novel’s sex scenes as entirely necessary. Chatterley’s is not a book about sex. Instead, it uses sex as a method to describe a deeply powerful love. When the novel’s protagonist, Connie, describes sleeping with her lover as a “poignant, marvelous death,” for example, this “death” of course does not refer to the act of intercourse itself. No, it is Connie’s love for gamekeeper Oliver Mellors that makes sex feel like an act that holds life and death in the palm of its hand.
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It’s the 1950s in Brighton, England, and love is in the air. The moment schoolteacher Marion Taylor (Emma Corrin) lays her eyes on devastatingly handsome policeman Tom Burgess (Harry Styles), she becomes utterly besotted with him, and before the sweltering summer is over, the young romantics are deep in the throes of a passionate affair. But Marion isn’t the only one pining after Tom. The policeman has also been partaking in a forbidden relationship with sophisticated museum curator Patrick (David Dawson)—a liaison that not only jeopardizes Tom’s budding relationship with Marion, but also runs both men the risk of being arrested for homosexuality.
Adapted from Bethan Roberts’ 2012 novel of the same name, My Policeman tells two stories. The first takes place in the 1990s and sees an older, now married Marion (Gina McKee) and Tom (Linus Roache), take in Patrick (Rupert Everett) to care for him after a stroke. During this time, the three are unable to ignore the harrowing truths of their shared past. Their attempts to accept things lost play out in lengthy flashbacks that chronicle the tempestuous love triangle that took place 40 years prior.
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