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  • Writer's pictureNoah Yard

Red, White and Royal Blue Review: A Sexy Tearjerker That'll Have You Reaching for the Tissues.


We all dream of finding our prince charming right? Oh, to find that too good to be true, mysterious, foreign man who sweeps us off our feet, oh wouldn’t that be nice?? But what happens when Prince Charming finds his own Prince Charming? That’s PC squared. And that is exactly the premise of Amazon Prime’s “Red White and Royal Blue,” a movie adaption of the NYT best-selling book of the same name, written by author Casey McQuiston.

Following the whirlwind romance of Prince Henry and the son of the US President Alex, the movie is, essentially, a Hallmark Movie for us gays. It has everything you need in your basic, lovey-dovey-happy-ending TV movie. A strange elaborate meet cute, swirling up and down emotions, and absurd plot points. But is it any good?

It starts a royal wedding, that of Henry’s brother, which Alex attends. The wedding ends when the two men, who hate each other because of something I don’t remember, end up shoving each other into the extravagant wedding cake, a shot and scene that is pretty infamous in the book and promo for the movie.

To repair relations with the royal family, Alex is ordered to pretend to be friends with Henry, attending events and photo opportunities that make them seem like fast best friends. Beneath the surface, however, lays a seething tension between the two.

Sold to us as an “enemies-to-lovers” movie I expected at least 45 minutes of solid rivalry with undertones of sexual tension before things ramped up. However, the “enemies”, part of the movie lasts for about 20 minutes out of the two-hour movie. Too fast! I feel like there needed to be more balance. But very quickly the pair are texting each other, with the introduction of Heartstopper-esque cartoons and visuals that seem to have become the norm now when conveying key moments. like the audience can’t tell when a text is spicey or notice a furtive glance that lingers on a second too long. It’s cute for Heartstopper, but here it feels like an imitation.

That’s where the similarities between the two adaptions end though. Quickly Henry and Alex develop their relationship faster and get to the nitty gritty quicker than the pair from Alice Oseman’s comic-turned-show. Henry and Alex find crazy ways to see each other, eventually succumbing to their obvious chemistry, and begin having a lot of sex, like a lot. Makes Heartstopper look like Barney the Dinosaur. But I keep digressing as I believe, the two projects are for different audiences despite their many similarities.

Henry and Alex’s relationship develops romantically, and it actually made me quite emotional watching two men having this kind of relationship in a movie. It’s passionate and real, and the chemistry between the actors is electric. When there are dark spots in their relationship, when things get tough, I also felt incredibly sad, so in that way, the movie is incredibly effective, in manipulating the audience's emotions. Or maybe I’m just a sucker I don’t know. They used to call movies like this that were marketed towards women and housewives Weepies (gross right?), but I can see myself, in exactly the wrong headspace sitting on the couch and tearing up a bit over this movie. What Alex and Henry do to show they love each other, and the places they explore together, physical, and emotional, is tear jerking.

However, the surrounding plot is a little harder to believe and understand. Alex’s mother, played by the stunning Uma Therman, is the president, and the movie’s subplot revolves around her re-election campaign. Uma does a good job at working with what she is given, balancing power and emotion, having beautiful conversations with her son and keeping it woke. She’s a highlight in the film. I particularly enjoy the line, when her son comes out to her, “You know the B in LGBT isn’t a silent letter right?” But her whole election storyline seems inconsequential. Alex’s love for Henry, in her mind, makes little difference. And we celebrate her for that! But the movie makes out like Alex would face zero consequence for his coming out, or for his relationship with Henry, and I think that could have been developed a bit more. I’m not saying Uma needed to play Selina Meyers from Veep, and support for the bisexual community is vital, but it just felt odd.

Across the pond, however, Henry deals with his own inner turmoil. Believing no prince of the English royal Family can come out as gay he agonises over his relationship, even ditching Alex at a vacation in America, hiding himself in his palace. It’s much more compelling than Alex’s storyline, and the actor who plays Henry, Nicholas Galitzine gives several moving speeches about the struggles he faces, balancing what he knows about himself, and what he thinks is possible for his life. Sometimes Galitzine’s acting may go too hard considering the fun, campy movie this is marketed as, but it's still fun to watch and makes the movie feel a little more like a worthwhile love story you can sink your teeth into.

Overall, the movie did make me emotional, even if some of them were second-hand embarrassment I think Red White and Royal Blue is a great addition to the ever-growing list of movies giving queer love a chance. It has frank discussions about bisexuality, consent, and the politics of coming out, and makes you think. But it’s also ridiculously, horrendously horny and sexy, so if you’re looking for just that there’s plenty to enjoy.

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