Review by Dan Skip Allen
Britain and the United States have been allies for many years. Our politicians visit England and sometimes help in peace talks, and members of the Royal Family come to the United States to show our people they appreciate us. But in the fictional world of the film Red, White & Royal Blue, things get a little more interesting between our countries — specifically between the President's son and the Prince of England.
Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez) is a young man who was very ordinary until his mother became President of the United States. This means he has to do photo ops and go to parties in foreign countries. Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) is a snobbish royal who is standoffish toward most people. When the two meet at a royal gathering, things get a little troublesome for the pair. There is a connection that forms afterward that neither saw coming after the incident at the royal gathering.
Red, White & Royal Blue is refreshing within the canon of LGBTQIA+ cinema because it has a lighter side. Although there are many politically charged subplots in the film, it's mainly a more relaxing type of movie featuring this kind of romantic entanglement. The fun of the film comes from the challenge of hiding their relationship, given their extremely public personas.
This film is based on the book of the same name by Casey McQuiston. It's a good story that is adapted by co-writer/director Matthew Lopez and writer Ted Malawere, touching on subjects that rarely come up in most political films.
Studios are looking for all kinds of good material to turn into films and television series. Prime Video is seemingly all in on turning popular books into films or television series. This is just one of many they have made into films. It deals with a specific demographic that a lot of the IPs they have don't deal with. Mix the political stuff and romantic stuff with a bit of shady journalism and jealousy from a jilted ex, and this film is more than just a LGBTQIA+ rom-com. It has a message about today's society and how we perceive our leaders.
The director assembles a good cast of mostly unknowns, but he adds a few heavy hitters in Uma Thurman as the President of the United States and Clifton Collins as her husband, the parents of Perez's character. They play a huge part in the film. They are very good parents to him, while also being high-profile political figures. A conversation about protection involving sex was quite awkward, but provides a humorous moment. And Stephen Fry plays the King of England, and like always, he is a pretty funny guy no matter what character he is playing.
There are aspects that are different in this movie that made me emotional while watching it. One is a rendition of “Fools Rush In” while the two main characters visit a museum in England after a passionate conversation. It is one of the most tender moments in any film I've seen this year.
Red, White & Royal Blue deals with pretty serious subject matter, but it handles it with a lighter tone. Political undertones and diplomatic relations are put on the back burner to focus more on the romance between these twenty-somethings who aren't supposed to be together. Love comes in all shapes and sizes. The world is hard, and happiness and love are a virtue. This movie shows that. I hope people have a chance to see it.
Red, White & Royal Blue streams on Prime Video beginning August 11.