These two rivals are likable, once you get to know them.
As I begin to watch “Red, White & Royal Blue,” I figure it’s going to be a mess, when we get a lame comedy introduction. However, as I continue to watch it, I discover its true colors, ones that shows us how two bickering individuals can form one of the most expected relationships. This made-for-Amazon-Prime movie, based on Casey McQuiston’s LGBT novel, may have some of its flaws, but it has its heart in the right place.
We meet Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez), who is the son of the first female U.S. President Ellen Clermont (Uma Thurman) and Senator Oscar Diaz (Clifton Collins, Jr.), and must attend a royal wedding at Buckingham Palace, where Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) will be attending. Ultimately, Alex and Harry can’t stand each other, and get into an argument so colossal, you could say the humiliation in Buckingham Palace takes the cake.
The President orders his son to make things right with the Prince, just for the sake of reputation. He has to fix the damage he got himself into. They still get at each other’s throats, but somehow, sparks fly between the bisexual Alex and the gay Henry. Henry comes on the Alex first, but not in the creepy assault way, rest assured. And then, Alex returns his love for him.
Of course, for obvious political reasons, they must keep their romance on the down low.
The President’s assistant Zhara (Sarah Shahi) finds out about their affair, and criticizes Alex for threatening his mother’s campaign. But the President, at least, warms up to her son, when he comes out of the closet. In retrospect, these two actresses overact in their roles, as if the movie wants them to be goofy in a British comedy tradition.
But I didn’t watch “Red, White, and Royal Blue” to see this “Pulp Fiction” actress. I watched it to see where this love story will head off into, especially by the circumstances on both sides of the coin. It more or less follows a tradition about how two people who don’t like each other end up liking each other. It’s more because of how people can change, and it’s less because of how the bickering gets cut back. It’s quite refreshing, if you see it through my perspective.
It’s the kind of modern British romcom with a more personal consistency than “What’s Love Got to Do with It?,” and Perez and Galitzine both win you over in the ways they transcend from rivals to lovers. They both have their own issues within their families, and they worry that their love can threaten the very balance of everything. Will their love damage the royal family’s appearance and the President’s reelection? That’s hard to say at this point.
I’m glad I didn’t give up on this movie, because of the introduction, because I’m able to see something unique in these two characters and their directions. Co-writer/director Matthew Lopez (best known as staff writer for “The Newsroom” and Broadway’s “The Inheritance”) makes his film debut with a good heart and charming performances. It can be quirky if it wants to, and it can show as much respect for the LBGTQIA community as it can. But it can also show us a romance set between two worlds.
This article was written by me with full support of the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes.
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video