Red, White and Royal Blue Review

Sunday 13 August 2023

Plot: When the feud between the son of the American President and Britain's prince threatens to drive a wedge in U.S./British relations, the two are forced into a staged truce that sparks something deeper.
Film: Red, White and Royal Blue

Director: Matthew López

Writers: Casey McQuiston, Matthew López, Ted Malawer

Starring: Taylor Zakhar Perez, Nicholas Galitzine, Uma Thurman

Set in a seemingly more progressive world where Uma Thurman is a female democratic president from Texas and the UK prime minister is a woman of colour, there are still forces at play trying to keep the first son and Prince of England apart in this feel good romantic comedy. Both Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) are worried about jeopardising the work of and disappointing their families to the point where they try to conceal their relationship from the public (and press) but things quickly get out of hand when they start to develop deeper feelings for one another. 

Picture the scene. A crowded dance floor, Get Low by Lil Jon is playing and just as everyone else gets low, Alex and Henry lock eyes across the room as the only two left standing in what is an intensely romantic ‘oh, it’s you’ moment. The sultry camerawork continues throughout the film with all of the scenes between the leading men, feeling warm and comforting and everything a queer love story like this deserves. 

The amount of relationship tropes thrown into this film is decidedly cheesy but that only adds to the fantastical romance of the story. The world seems to be slowly healing from this notion that all queer media has to be fraught with suffering for people to want to watch. Yes, Alex and Henry are star crossed lovers, forbidden because; “Oh honey, Princes aren’t allowed to be gay.”, as said by Alex’s friend Nora (Rachel Hilson), one of the supporting side characters. Although, admittedly the characters are in a very privileged position, they are able to explore both their relationships and sexualities in a very real way, which we are seeing more in mainstream media, but not enough.

My only gripe is that I would have liked to see a little more of the serious side of this film. The characters and story were at it's best when the jokes were dropped and they really allowed the emotion of the characters run free. Alex and Henry both have beautiful monologues towards the end of the film and it was easy to forget you were watching a comedy at all, drama and romance was all that was left. That being said I wouldn't have traded the innuendos and suggestive cinematography. This wasn't the first instance of the Washington Monument being implied as phallic, but it was definitely my favourite.

As well as Rachel Hilson playing everyone’s favourite supportive straight friend, we can now add Uma Thurman to the growing list of the best onscreen mothers to their LGBTQ kids. Uma Thurman saying “Well you know the ‘B’ in LGBTQ is not a silent letter” in response to Alex coming out to her as Bi, is a cultural reset and I want that quote emblazoned on everything I own. Speaking from experience, there are so many parents that won’t bat an eyelid at the news that their child is different, and those interactions are just as important to showcase as the more hostile reactions. Normalising acceptance in media doesn’t just apply to those going through the journey of self-discovery, but the family and friends around them too.

Red, White and Royal Blue is an earnest rom com with good representation, a fun plot and plenty of emotion. It’s messy, steamy and unashamedly gay. It’s also hopeful and tender and silly. This might not be the film you want to watch but it can’t be said enough that everyone deserves to see themselves in a story. So, for all the secretly gay princes out there, this one’s for you. 

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