Let me admit to something right here and now, I adore romances. Not only do I write romance, I love the emotional connection, the highs and lows of the relationships, and the sizzling hot love scenes. Whether it is written or on screen, I fall in love with romances, especially ones that focus on the LGBTQ community. The LGBTQ community has less representation so I appreciate that more of these films are taking a mainstream stage. So I was incredibly excited to see the news about Red, White, and Royal Blue. I have the book on my to- read list. I honestly waited because I didn’t want to spoil the film which I’m grateful I did. I fell in love with the characters and their sizzling red hot chemistry. The relationship was beautiful and emotional, the romance well written. Some parts of the film did strain credulity but the performances were lovely.
“Red, White, and Royal Blue” is a romantic comedy film directed by Matthew Lopez in his feature film directorial debut, and co-wrote the screenplay with Ted Malawer. Based on the 2019 novel of the same name by Casey McQuiston, the film details the relationship between Alex Cameron-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez), the son of the first female president, Ellen Cameron (Uma Thurman) and British Prince, Henry (Nicholas Galitzine). At first the pair dislike each other which causes a physical altercation at the wedding of Henry’s brother Phillip (Thomas Flynn), which is publicized. The pair must work together to fix the political issues they’ve caused. The two become close over time, developing a friendship that ends up with them falling for each other. But with Henry’s role as a prince and Alex’s political ambitions, can the pair find a way to be together or will it all blow up in their faces? Clifton Collins Jr. plays Alex’s father, Senator Oscar Diaz, Stephen Fry plays the king James III, Sarah Shahi plays Ellen’s advisor Zahra Bankston, Rachel Hilson plays Alex’s friend Nora Holleran, Ellie Bamber Henry’s sister Beatrice, and Aneesh Sheth, Alex’s secret service agent Amy.
The aspect I appreciated the most was the connection and dynamic between the two actors, Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine. Not only do their love scenes sizzle but the connection between Alex and Henry feels genuine, emotional and beautifully built between the pair. Even in the beginning, when they dislike each other, the repartee between the pair is perfectly written and portrayed. Both men are charming and as the relationship deepens, the deeper emotions are portrayed with meaning and expressiveness by both of them. While the romance is not unexpected, it is paced well and the interactions between Alex and Henry are beautiful.
One of the other elements well done is the soundtrack of the film. The songs, from the first, Bad Reputation, build the relationship and the romance. It heightens the sexual tension and the emotions. In a romance, it is all about experiencing the highs and lows with the characters. The music only spotlights the lovely connections between Alex and Henry, their rapport with each other, and their other relationships, supportive or not. The music also adds a romantic and hopeful tone to the entire movie.
Not unexpectedly, in a romantic comedy, the humor is another integral aspect. The most skilled and funniest scenes were at the hands of the character Zahra, played by Sarah Shahi, as she attempts to fix the issues that Alex and Henry cause in the president’s campaign for re-election. She is witty and she steals the scenes she’s in, even against the charm of Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine. Both of the male leads have their moments to shine as well, adding humor and witty scenes amidst the more emotional scenes.
The performances are what really help the film shine. Not only is the chemistry between Taylor Zahkar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine sizzling hot but individually their portrayals of their characters resonate with me. Taylor Zahkar Perez is passionate, exuberant and warm. He also plays his scenes embracing bisexuality with grace and charm. Nicholas Galitzine is sweet and complex as his character struggles with allowing himself to be free, to be himself to the public. Nicholas portrays that conflict with emotion and depth. Besides the leads, the rest of the cast also gives skilled performances. Uma Thurman is strong as Ellen Cameron and ultimately supportive and caring. Clifton Collins Jr. is witty and warm as Oscar Diaz. As I stated previously, Sarah Shahi as Zahra is witty and hilarious in her role. The secondary characters, Stephen Fry as the king, Rachel Hilson as Nora Holleran, Ellie Bamber as Beatrice, Thomas Flynn as Phillip and Aneesh Sheth as secret service agent Amy are all excellent, adding intricacy to the movie.
However, there were some moments I struggled with in the film. One of the issues were moments that strained credulity. For example, it was difficult to believe that Alex had not been exposed to the public and publicity prior to his mother becoming president. If his father and mother were in politics, he would have been much more familiar with publicity. The accent for Ellen Cameron and Oscar Diaz did not feel genuine. Clifton Collins Jr. sounded like he was from California and Uma Thurman has an accent that just didn’t quite sound Texan. And while I expected the predictability because romances do follow a formula, this was entirely too predictable as to what was going to happen. There were zero surprises. I still enjoyed the romance, the chemistry and the sweetness of the scenes between Alex and Henry.
If, like me, you love beautiful romances with sizzling red hot chemistry, I do recommend this film. It’s on Amazon Prime currently and the love scenes might make you swoon. The scenes are emotional and touching. There are some scenes that are heart wrenching. The ending is hopeful and loving, exactly what you want in the romantic comedy. The acting is exceptional. The comedic moments are funny even amidst the predictability. Love wins and that’s the important thing, especially in a film representing the LGBTQ community.
Rating: 3 out of 5 hands held