Thursday, August 10, 2023

Red, White & Royal Blue: Movie Review

Annoying premise but good relationship saga.
The premise of Red, White & Royal Blue can be very difficult to accept, and it’s hard to see this as anything but a cash grab to try to steal off the recent popularity of the British Royals with King Charles’ coronation and Megan and Prince Harry’s tell-alls. In this version of reality, there’s a King James III who is the grandfather of Prince Philip (a clear parallel to William), Prince Henry (a partial parallel to Harry) and Princess Beatrice.   2023

Directed by: Matthew Lopez

Screenplay by: Matthew Lopez, Ted Malawar
Based on the novel by Casey McQuiston

Starring: Taylor Zakhar Perez, Nicholas Galitzine

Just in case the links to the current royals isn’t obvious enough, the father of Philip and Henry died when they were young in a tragic car accident. The biggest hurdle in this premise is that Alex the son of the President of the United States is required to be friends with Prince Henry because there are so many events where they will be together and the world needs to see that they get along. In which world do the children of US presidents need to be friends with current Princes and Princesses? Apart from attending the royal weddings, there is very little evidence that the First Children are constantly thrown together with the Princes. Let alone a society that is desperate for their friendship.

Anyways here we are with an American-British royal rom-com where American Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and Prince Henry (Nicholaz Galitzine) hate each other, get into a cake fight at a royal wedding, and is forced by their handlers to become friends. Eventually after slowly becoming friends they both realize that they’re both gay but have not yet come out due to their public standings. Older brother Prince Philip is a very by-the-books stoic royal who always follows tradition and what is right. Henry doesn’t get along with his perfect brother and is a bit more carefree and wants to live his life, but he has not yet come out because he knows how that would disrupt his royal family.

Alex’s family are democrats from Texas. President Claremount (Uma Thurman) needs the state to win re-election but is currently not projected to win Texas. Alex doesn’t want to do anything to rock the boat, and coming out as gay most definitely would.

Alex and Henry trying to navigate their private life while living public lives is a good storyline and it’s handled well. Their romance is fun, these characters exist outside of their relationship, and it’s very clear how their public personas would start to negatively infiltrate their new long-distance relationship.

The parallels to the real royals are as unsubtle as you can get and the initial premise is very annoying, but the relationship that grows out of this movie is funny and romantic with real stakes.