Red, White & Royal Blue
One of the latest to join the book-to-film adaptation of queer novels – alongside the likes of Call Me by Your Name and Love, Simon – is Prime Video’s Red, White & Royal Blue. The plot centres around a fictional version of the Royal Family in which Prince Henry, the spare to the heir, becomes romantically tied with the US President’s (Uma Thurman) son, Alex Claremont-Diaz. It explores how their romantic development affects the political standings of their titles, and the divide in public identities and individual acceptance as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
The feature exhibits undeniably good casting for its two leads, bringing the characters from the book to life with electric chemistry between Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and Henry (Nicholas Galitzine). It’s so entertaining to watch how easily both actors transition from awkward small talk to banter to desperately ripping each other’s clothes off. The fun and clever script enhances this experience, highlighting witty exchanges, not just between Alex and Henry, but the supporting cast as well.
However, fans of the novel may be upset to know that June, Alex’s sister, does not make an appearance. Henry’s siblings, Bea and Phillip, play big roles in the original material but have been greatly reduced in this adaptation. This cuts a lot of significant character development for the individual stories of Alex and Henry – such as Alex discovering his bisexuality and exploring career avenues outside of politics, and the heavy burden Henry feels as the “spare”. These little plot points are mentioned but not explored to a deserving satisfaction, which makes the film feel lacking outside of Alex and Henry’s romantic tryst.
The editing is perhaps one of the most satisfying aspects of the film’s execution. Fast-paced cuts and transitions from scene to scene during their initial kisses reflect their desperate need for each. But it slows down and becomes more sensual – lingering on every touch and piece of skin during their first time having sex. The use of digital files, newspaper cuttings, video interviews, online headlines and social media screens underline the big part technology plays in their relationship – because they’re continents apart – as well as remind the viewers of the political and media side of it all. However, the best part of the production is definitely how it visualises Alex and Henry when they’re talking on the phone – filming the two actors in one location as if to reflect that despite being miles apart, their connection is so strong they might as well be in the same room.
Red, White & Royal Blue exhibits a heart-touching portrayal of a queer relationship, and that, despite all of the political debates and media spectacle, love wins in the end.
Red, White & Royal Blue is released on Prime Video on 11th August 2023.
Watch the trailer for Red, White & Royal Blue here: