The hysterically sexy film adaptation of the best-selling novel hits Amazon Prime Video on August 11...
“It’s like there’s a rope attached to my chest, and it keeps pulling me towards you.”
The filmmakers behind the new film Red, White & Royal Blue had an arduous task presented to them when deciding to adapt Casey McQuiston’s 2019 novel: How can a film version of an unlikely romance between the son of the President of the United States and a British prince live up to the positive reviews the book received? The nature of such a far-fetched concept realistically demonstrated on the screen should probably be cast perfectly, produced by someone who knows a thing or two about modern LGBTQ+ relationships, and directed by a talented helmer who understands structure.
Thankfully for Amazon Studios, Red, White & Royal Blue is in steady hands.
Directed by Tony Award-winner Matthew Lopez and produced by Love, Simon and Riverdale talent Greg Berlanti, Red, White & Royal Blue is a leap in the right direction for modern LGBTQ+ love. The story might be a bit of a stretch, and the climax might tug at the heartstrings just a little too much, yet it’s a fun and scandalous take on today’s global political climate. This is not your mother’s Hallmark Movie. This one is for the gays.
The fictional son of the President of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez), and Britain’s Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) detest each other. They get into a public fight that results in an embarrassing scene for their families at a crucial time in the United States and Britain relations. Each young man is allotted a life full of state dinners and predetermined schedules, with a massive amount of protection surrounding them at all times. However, when the two are put into damage control mode, they discover they have more in common than they realize. Both are incredibly handsome, charismatic, perpetually single bachelors hiding secrets about themselves they can’t share with the heads of their families.
As their hatred for one another subsides and a surprise make-out session sparks romantic feelings, Alex and Henry begin a journey of self-discovery while attempting a long-distance relationship across the pond. The President of the United States (Uma Thurman) is running for reelection. At the same time, Britain’s King James III (Stephen Fry) attempts to hold onto tradition in the face of his empire’s modern changes. Alex and Henry’s new relationship might be met with obstacles, though this wouldn’t be a love story if there weren’t some challenges peaking around every corner.
Red, White & Royal Blue shouldn’t be as good as it is given that at the heart of it, the premise embodies all the clichés of its source material full of melodramatic romance. Lopez gives montage scenes depth by presenting long-distance text conversations between Alex and Henry, with the respective characters flirting in the same room to make viewers aware that this relationship is blossoming regardless of distance. With its R-Rating in the United States, the film boasts some surprisingly tasteful sex scenes mixed with stimulating characters worth rooting for. Prince Henry self-describes as “The Spare,” a term used by the real Prince Harry about his place of insignificance within the British royal family. Alex might be the next face of American politics as he studies at the University of Texas in Austin and works as a surrogate for his mother to try to win Texas for the Democratic party…a feat not seen on the presidential level in several decades. A scandal is brewing, and each man has much to lose if their relationship is exposed, yet they are old enough to determine the trajectory of their shared future.
These decisions, bucking traditions, and going against the grain make the film incredibly fun to watch.
The casting of the deliciously sexy Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine goes beyond just their good looks. Each actor knows not to overdo it when playing newbies to the LGBTQ+ community, specifically Perez’s Alex, who identifies secretly as bisexual. They are careful not to mock these characters, and each conveys a charm that makes the “adults” around them seem a bit wonky. Uma Thurman’s Presidential mother is supposed to be from Texas, and her accent might need a bit of fine-tuning, but her love for her son breaks the mold. Stephen Fry’s conservative King might seem unoriginal, but the character drips with irony as Fry himself is out and proud in his personal life. Rounding out the cast is the delightfully funny Sarah Shahi as the President’s Deputy Chief of Staff, who tries to balance what she finds out about Alex and Henry with procuring a reelection win for her boss. These characters are quick-witted, dramatic, and pleasant to watch as the film progresses.
Red, White & Royal Blue can sometimes exude overly dramatic tension and a schmaltzy demeanor. Still, it’s a comforting film depicting two sworn enemies who discover that love is all around them if they just remember to look for it.
Red, White & Royal Blue starts streaming on Amazon Prime Video in Canada on August 11.