Red, White & Royal Blue (2023)

Red, White & Royal Blue (2023)


A charming and fun royal gay romcom captures the spirit of the original novel



United States of America
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Clifton Collins Jr., Nicholas Galitzine, Rachel Hilson
112 min


As a book fan, this was an excellent adaptation.

What it's about

After they topple over the wedding cake of the royal family, the U.S. president’s son Alex and Britain’s Prince Henry fake a friendship to the media that deepens as they get to know each other.

The take

The Red, White & Royal Blue film adaptation might feel familiar to some viewers, albeit with a gay twist. A rivals to hidden lovers relationship that shifted because of increased exposure to each other via PR outings is exactly the type of plot seen in romance comedies like the second Princess Diaries. However, this film keeps these tropes fresh through careful reimagining and through excellent casting. While some moments in the book are skipped or sped through, director Matthew Lopez keeps the attention where it needs to be, specifically on the US president’s son Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and the UK’s Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine). The moments they share may not be totally relatable – after all, most teenage romances aren’t matters of state – but it’s easy to root for them when the film drives home what’s at stake for the two, as well as what’s at stake for gay couples when considering coming out.

What stands out

Like with many film adaptations, Red, White & Royal Blue skates over some side plots to focus on the main relationship between Alex and Henry. It’s an understandable technique in adaptations, but this story especially requires it. The main relationship alone means that the film has to tackle multiple themes at once – including, but not limited to, the royal life, politics, the coming-of-age experience, and LGBT and interracial romance. Director Matthew Lopez addresses this by taking inspiration from some of the biggest titles in their genres. For example, viewers might recognize West Side Story’s (1961) glance across the room in the scene of Alex’s New Year Party, as well as Pride and Prejudice’s (2005) stroll through the museum gallery where Alex gains a better understanding of Henry’s past. Through scenes like these, Lopez effectively translates the book's important moments into visual language. The film takes advantage of the familiar in order to give justice to the emotional turning points of Alex and Henry’s relationship.

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