RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE
Starring: Nicholas Galitzine, Taylor Zakhar Perez, Uma Thurman, and Stephen Fry
Director: Matthew López
Red, White & Royal Blue is perfect viewing if you’re looking for an easy-to-watch, cliché rom-com ending with a “happily ever after.” It’s fun, glossy, and cheesy while still touching on some meaningful themes and offering timely critiques on traditional values in modern Britain. It was much funnier than I expected too, and it didn’t take itself too seriously either. While it’s predictable and some parts of the plot are underdeveloped, the central performances are really enjoyable. Plus, it’s refreshing to see such a sweet and joyful queer love story.
I’m not heartless. When a cheesy rom-com comes around, even when it’s not amazing, I’ll most likely still fall for it. That said, there is too much missing from Red, White & Royal Blue for me to give it a pass. It’s not horrible by any means. There’s some fun to be had, including a standout performance from Uma Thurman, but the movie just isn’t very funny, and the chemistry between Nicholas Galitzine and Taylor Zakhar Perez is lacking. It does succeed when it goes for the tender moments, but I was not nearly invested enough to fully enjoy myself.
Sweet, cheesy, and borderline saccharine: These are the things that make good rom-coms worth watching, and something that Red, White & Royal Blue achieves extremely well. Also, though…the fact that it’s centered on two men adds the complication of a self-identity story since Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) keeps his true self and royal heritage hidden from the world, an aspect that truly elevates the film. It’s incredibly easy to root for Henry and Alex Claremont-Diaz’s (Taylor Zakhar Perez) love story since they’re very likeable characters, and the film is full of so much charm, fun, and sentiment that it simply works.
While Red, White & Royal Blue is a cute, cheesy little rom-com that is very reminiscent of What a Girl Wants and The Prince & Me, the streaming movie is kind of cliché. It very much plays out like a Hallmark romance flick, just with more sex appeal to make it hot and steamy. With that said, our leads try their best to sell the relationship, but their performances are very much a mixed bag. Overall, despite its stumbles, it’s nice to see a queer movie with a happy ending.
Hallmark-esque melodrama usually isn’t my cup of tea, but I’ll admit that Red, White & Royal Blue has some admirable qualities. The dialogue is unsurprisingly schmaltzy, but the romance at the heart of the film is mostly well-realized. The on-screen chemistry between Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) and Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez) elevates the stereotypical material and gives the film its beating heart. Unfortunately, what lets this Prime Original down is the painfully sloppy visual delivery. Rushed, sitcom-grade cinematography hinders Royal Blue at nearly every turn, transforming what could have been a beautiful love story into something undeniably ugly.