Pop superstar Harry Styles discussed the complexities of sexuality and said he found the closeted gay man he plays in 1950s drama “My Policeman” depressing, as his latest movie premiered at the Toronto film festival Sunday.
“My Policeman” is one of several LGBTQ-themed movies in what organizers have hailed as a “breakthrough” year at North America’s biggest film festival, along with Billy Eichner’s rom-com “Bros” and critically praised gay military drama “The Inspection.”
But the world premiere of Styles’s latest movie comes as the British actor-singer faces allegations from some high-profile critics of appropriating queer culture, including his gender-non-conforming fashion choices, while keeping his own sexuality ambiguous.
In the film, he plays Tom, a policeman caught in a forbidden love triangle with a young woman and an urbane art gallery curator in 1950s Britain, when homosexuality was illegal.
“I think there’s so much nuance to them, and so much complexity that comes for people in real life around sexuality and finding themselves,” Styles told a Toronto press conference.
The movie, which also stars Emma Corrin and Rupert Everett, jumps between 1957 and 1999, depicting the trio at two different stages of their lives, when Britain’s attitude and laws about homosexuality had radically changed.
It deals with the consequences for all three of Tom’s being forced to hide his love for curator Patrick.
“I think Tom’s version of acceptance is a pretty depressing one — I think he accepts that he’s gonna deny this part of himself for a really long time,” said Styles.
He noted: “For me, the reason why the story is so devastating is because ultimately to me, the whole story is about wasted time.
“I think wasted time is the most devastating thing, because it’s the only thing we can’t control. It’s the one thing we can’t have back.”