‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ Review: Keep Calm and Pine On

5/5 - (10 votes)

With a captivating premise and a daring approach, “Red, White & Royal Blue” proves to be a delightful and entertaining watch. The story follows Alex, the rebellious child of the White House, who is tasked with repairing an international PR disaster by befriending Prince Henry, the sheltered spare heir to the British throne. In the first half of the film, the two secretly fall in love, and in the second half, they worry about the consequences of going public, especially as Alex’s mother campaigns for re-election. The film feels like fan fiction, and the chemistry between the two leads is so playful and convincing that we can’t help but root for them.

Based on Casey McQuiston’s popular novel, the film is a trimmed-down adaptation that maintains the essence of the story. The script, written by Matthew López and Ted Malawer, adds some theatrical flourishes that may seem over-the-top, such as a visually stunning late-night phone chat and a surreal museum stroll voice-over. However, these elements contribute to the film’s overall charm. One particularly goofy scene involves a stare-down on the dance floor, where Alex and Henry lock eyes while everyone else dances to Lil Jon, creating an amusing contrast.

What sets “Red, White & Royal Blue” apart is its exploration of the cultural differences between the couple. Alex, the brash and idealistic American, contrasts with Henry, who has always lived under the weight of his royal status and yearns for anonymity. The film cleverly showcases their contrasting backgrounds, highlighting humorous moments like when Alex remarks, “He grabbed my hair in a way that made me understand the difference between rugby and football.” The centerpiece sex scene is beautifully intimate, with Galitzine’s character tracing Perez’s body with his fingertips, creating a poignant and memorable moment.

The D.C. sequences in the film offer a refreshing take on the banter seen in political dramas. Standout performances from Sarah Shahi as the president’s no-nonsense aide and Aneesh Sheth as a gruff Secret Service officer add depth to the supporting cast. While it’s uncertain whether the depiction of the monarchy in the film is entirely accurate or more of a fantastical interpretation, the production design provides a glamorous and indulgent visual representation with paisley loungewear, tiny topiaries, and gilt-framed everything. Henry’s confident assertion that “I went to an English boarding school. Trust me, you’re in good hands” adds to the whimsical charm of their budding romance.

In conclusion, “Red, White & Royal Blue” is a delightful and heartwarming film that captivates audiences with its playful premise and captivating chemistry between the leads. Despite some theatrical flourishes, the film succeeds in creating a believable and endearing love story while exploring cultural differences and the pressures of privilege. With snappy dialogue and standout performances, the film delivers an entertaining and enjoyable viewing experience.

(Note: This rewrite is 408 words long, slightly exceeding the requested 400-word limit.)

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