Red, White & Royal Blue | Review by: Amanda Guarragi
Everyone deserves a joyful romantic comedy once in a while. Life can be difficult at times, and there need to be more films that bring how wonderful life can be with some love and laughter sprinkled in. Red, White & Royal Blue, directed by Matthew López and co-written by author Casey McQuiston delivers a vibrant and bubbly queer romance that everyone will enjoy. McQuiston’s debut novel became a bestseller because of her characters First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine). They are on opposite ends of the world but still understand what it’s like living in the public eye and being monitored by their families. Their relationship begins as enemies, but they eventually become friends and share quite a lot.
What’s so perfect about this adaptation is that the love story between Alex and Henry happened naturally. Zakhar Perez and Galitzine have wonderful chemistry and feed off each other. There’s a zest that Zakhar Perez has playing Alex that no one else could have captured. Alex is forthright and puts his foot in his mouth a lot, but he just exudes this confidence all while being himself. On the other hand, Prince Henry is very reserved and timid because he’s a royal, so he never steps out of line. Alex pushes his buttons and his boundaries when they’re together. But once Henry becomes comfortable with Alex, he becomes more playful and open-minded about relationships. They bring out the best in each other, and it was nice to see how much they changed.
Much like the book, there are familiar tropes that can make any fan of the rom-com swoon just as it happens, but it didn’t feel cliche. The chemistry between them made this Presidential/Royal relationship feel grounded because of how they were feeling. They were forced to get to know each other. And there are small moments that make them realize their feelings for one another. Whether they were shoved in a closet, doing interviews or spending time at a children’s hospital, it still became intimate as they uncovered why they were at odds, to begin with. Director López created such an intimate atmosphere every time they were sneaking around. As an audience member, it felt intrusive, but it was impossible to look away because of everything happening.
Red, White & Royal Blue is a rom-com everyone can enjoy because of how fun Alex and Henry are with each other. It’s not necessarily their falling love with each other that captures your heart, but it’s the playful lead-up to them realizing they feel more than friendship. There is also a proper bisexual representation of Alex Claremont-Diaz, which is rare in the media. Even though this film is an R-rating, the intimate moments are filled with tenderness and love that explore their journey with each other. This film can bring so much joy to those who don’t feel like they’ll ever feel accepted or loved by others. It’s not only through a romantic relationship but the relationship one can have with their family or a whole nation that can change who you’re meant to be.
Review by: Amanda Guarragi
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