11th Aug2023

‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ Review (Amazon Prime)

by Jasmine Valentine

Stars: Nicholas Galitzine, Taylor Zakhar Perez, Uma Thurman, Sarah Shahi | Written by Matthew Lopez, Ted Malawar | Directed by Matthew Lopez

The first son of the US President, Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez), isn’t particularly liked by the UK’s Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine). After a prickly meeting at a royal function makes headlines, the two are forced into a PR tour to rectify their relationship. The process makes the two realise that there might be more feelings there than first thought, leading to an epic LGBT cross-country romance that’s set to shatter all boundaries.

The Americans and an infatuation with the British royal family is a love story that has been aeons in the making. Painted as an institution that is only viewed through rose-tinted glasses, the real-life version is something to be frequently consumed and celebrated. With that in mind, it makes complete sense for the melding of American and British politics to meet immediate success in Casey McQuiston’s novel Red, White & Royal Blue — and the film adaptation looks to have exactly the same effect.

Even for typical romantic-comedy heathens, the characters that make up the core of Red, White & Royal Blue are too endearing to pass up. The natural charisma of Perez’s Claremont-Diaz is as present through the camera as it is through his political agenda, schmoozing his audience and his potential votes in one fell swoop. The one who falls most reluctantly to his charms is Galitzine’s Prince Henry, though the romantic tension is palpable once the initial barriers have broken down. When the pair are together, the film is at its best. It only takes a matter of seconds for viewers to be ensconced into the wholesome moments that accent a blossoming romance, with a touch of humour added in along the way.

Where other male-loving-male dramas like Heartstopper choose to focus on lighter physical touches, Red, White & Royal Blue doesn’t shy away from the joys of sex. Though the act itself is never fully revealed, the lens that director Matthew Lopez opts to have on intimacy is a refreshing one. For perhaps the first time ever, gay sex isn’t viewed as a deviant kind of fornication, or something hot, heavy, and horny that’s best reserved for a club toilet stall. Instead, Henry and Alex get the romance and whimsy of a Pride and Prejudice adaptation, proving that love is, indeed, always love.

However, Red, White & Royal Blue doesn’t always hold its magic touch. While the performances across the board are solid — in spite of an extremely unexpected Southern accent from President Uma Thurman — the visuals leave a lot to be desired. The film’s overall stylings take the reigns from the likes of Hallmark originals, with moments of CGI being all too obvious to spot. Costings aside, it’s never a good look to try and do royalty on a budget. Though the narrative certainly steals the spotlight, the film’s visuals are the one reason why fans might be taken out of the moment.

Even in times of visual weakness, Red, White & Royal Blue is a love-fest well worth sitting with. Its voice on coming out, being yourself, and taking the world by storm exceed corny in order to be meaningful, and its cast of lovable characters hold the key to the lock of feel-good euphoria. The film is also perfectly set up for an entire franchise to unfold around it, so don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last we see of this bout of international young love.

**** 4/5

Red, White & Royal Blue is available to stream on Amazon Prime now.


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