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‘History, huh?’ Red, White and Royal Blue is Making Some

The long-awaited adaptation of the book Red, White, and Royal Blue has finally been released onto streaming. Debuting on Prime Video on August 11th, the movie, directed by Matthew López, is based on the bestselling novel written by author Casey McQuiston. The story was famous upon publication, but the demand for the novel skyrocketed once it made its rounds on ‘BookTok’. A movie adaptation was announced only two years later, leading us to where we are today.

The story follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, the first son of the United States and Prince Henry of Wales. Their feelings towards each other are ill-willed, and the two do not get along, especially Alex, who seems to hold an everlasting grudge against the Prince. But, after a rather public catastrophe, known by some as ‘cakegate’, the two are forced into pretending that they have been best friends their entire life, leading them to spend quite a bit more time with each other to keep up the ruse. Evidently, those feelings of dislike for Henry were never true, and Alex realizes that he may have been experiencing something else all along. When the two eventually enter a secret romance, they’re left to navigate their relationship while simultaneously trying to avoid causing a political scandal for the ages.

When the movie was first announced, many fans were worried about how the "spiciness" of the book would be adapted and if it would be toned down at all. Many were also concerned with the casting, claiming that the chemistry between the actors was nonexistent. Well, let me reassure you of two things:

One: the movie does NOT shy away from the intimacy between the two. There's a reason it's Rated-R.

And two: Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine are Alex and Henry through and through.

The film embodies the idea of a sweet, enticing rom-com. Perez and Galitzine are brilliant in encompassing their characters, their energy palpable and the romance fiery. Their connection is so apparent that, at times, it almost feels as if one is intruding on a private moment and shouldn't be watching. All of the side characters feel like they properly fit into the story, which can be incredibly hard to portray when there are a slew of them. The narrative is heartfelt, entertaining, and full of unbridled yearning. It's a fun, gooey, giggle-inducing watch that'll have you kicking your feet by the end of it. It's an LGBTQ+ story that doesn't end in tragedy. Need I say more?

But that doesn't mean there aren't its faults. Although a lovely story with it's ups and downs, the whole thing seemed incredibly rushed (which, to be fair, is expected when you try to adapt a 450-page novel into a two-hour movie). A slew of scenes in the book were cut, some being shown in the trailer (ex: the Cornetto's scene), and many were altered for the film. On top of that, many characters that were critical to the story did not make it into the film at all. One of the most mourned ones out of the many that were lost to the screen was June, Alex's sister. A fan favorite for those who had read the novel, viewers were disappointed when she didn't appear. Portions of the political plotline that was very present in the book were cut out, which does make sense when you consider that the movie was attempting to focus mainly on the romance between Alex and Henry. However, without it, a lot of background information was missing, especially with how the story's timeframe flowed, leaving those who had not read the book occasionally lost.

This isn’t to say that the adaptation isn’t a good one. It does depend on perspective, if you have previously read the book, if you’re going in completely blind, etc. But, if you’re in the mood for something that’ll get your heart going, this almost fanfic-like movie is the pick. This type of film hasn’t been seen before within the LGBTQ+ community, and even with its hiccups, it’s a welcome addition. So, please, go swoon over the silly yet endearing movie that is Red, White, and Royal Blue! And, if there’s anything to take away from this little blurb of a review, it’s this: DO NOT watch this film with your parents.

Written by Ashley Lavalle

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