“Red, White & Royal Blue” Review: A Charming and Playful Take on Modern Romance

“Red, White & Royal Blue” sweeps onto the screen with a giddy premise that feels like a delightful combination of fan fiction and screwball romance. Directed by Matthew López in his debut, this adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s 2019 novel injects a refreshing lightness into the romance genre. The film unfolds a modern fairy tale that revolves around the unlikely love story between the rebellious son of the US President, Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez), and the reserved British prince, Henry (Nicholas Galitzine).

The story’s kickoff, the wedding of England’s crown prince, serves as the backdrop to ignite the unfolding tale of transatlantic romance. Alex, tasked with fostering US-British ties, encounters Prince Henry, setting the stage for a delightful transformation from rivalry to romance. López skillfully navigates the couple’s journey from secret lovers to grappling with the possibility of a very public relationship, all while Alex’s mother (played by Uma Thurman) campaigns for re-election.

López, with the support of cinematographer Stephen Goldblatt, captures the leads’ chemistry with a tender adoration that translates effortlessly on-screen. Galitzine’s bashful expressions and Perez’s roguish charm bring authenticity to their characters, propelling the audience to root for their love story’s success.

While the film occasionally dips into theatricality with visual flourishes that border on over-indulgence, it smartly centers on the cultural differences that create a charming tension between the two protagonists. Henry’s regal demeanor is counterbalanced by Alex’s brash idealism, and their journey of understanding each other’s worlds adds depth to their relationship.

Set against the backdrop of Washington D.C., the film interweaves snappy banter and fresh interactions that invigorate the familiar political landscape. Standout performances from Sarah Shahi and Aneesh Sheth add to the film’s engaging ensemble cast.

“Red, White & Royal Blue” is undeniably a condensed adaptation of McQuiston’s beloved novel, which gained massive popularity on TikTok. While the film occasionally stretches believability with its depiction of British royalty, it finds its footing in the central love story. The intimate scenes between Henry and Alex are tenderly crafted, epitomizing the film’s commitment to the characters’ emotional journey.

In a time when the world craves lightheartedness and escapism, “Red, White & Royal Blue” offers an amiably silly and heartwarming escape. It’s a reminder that love stories, even when set against the backdrop of politics and privilege, can evoke genuine smiles and fluttering hearts. This film is a cheerful, frothy delight that invites viewers to embrace a world where true love knows no boundaries and where the improbable becomes reality, all while keeping them grinning from start to finish.

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