This YA romance based on Casey McQuiston’s novel follows Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar), the ‘First Son,’ who gets caught up in a crisis with Britain’s Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine). Despite starting off on the wrong foot, they slowly change their perspective and develop an unexpected connection. But their romance isn’t easy due to their important roles in different countries.
Red, White & Royal Blue has a unique charm by embracing its unassuming nature. It playfully veers away from the ordinary whenever its eccentric storyline approaches a touch of distinctiveness. Right from the beginning, the film defies norms, bypassing traditional character introductions and world-building, immersing us directly into its delightful chaos without attempting to overhaul romantic comedy clichés.
I can’t spill too many details without ruining the fun, because the real delight of the movie comes from the exciting moments shared between Alex and Henry. The progression from being apparent adversaries to becoming lovers is both endearing and authentic. Even if you’re a big fan of the book, don’t fret – the director has added a few tweaks here and there. But fear not, those important scenes like the cake mishap and the dance floor magic are faithfully brought to life, full of sweetness and charm.
From their cute texts to that magical first kiss under the tree, every bit is just beautifully captured on screen. Even after their union, their relationship continues to evolve, deepening into a unique and profound connection that becomes particularly evident by the movie’s conclusion.
The perspective from Henry’s point of view, as compared to the book, was a notable aspect that garnered appreciation. While not contributing significantly, it did provide Galitzine with an opportunity to display his acting skills. The core essence of the narrative remains intact, and despite prior media coverage and expectations surrounding the film, the handling of the political elements proved to be a positive surprise. A particularly moving element was Alex’s journey with Texas, and this subplot added a beautiful layer. The movie elicited a similar emotional resonance as experienced while reading the book.
The romance was rushed, lacking the depth in it. Important moments, like the pivotal Christmas phone call that shapes Henry and Alex’s relationship and personal growth, were omitted—perhaps due to the alteration of his parents’ relationship status. It felt as though the substantial events leading up to the New Year’s Eve kiss were condensed into a very short timeframe, leaving a sense of abruptness.
Alex’s parents’ happily married was a point of dislike, significantly impacting his character development. His journey fell somewhat flat, a letdown especially if you’ve read the book and relate with the character. His struggle with major anxiety seemed insufficiently portrayed, and his transformation from an idealistic, impulsive individual to a sincere, romantic, and commitment-ready person felt rushed and lacked depth, transpiring within a mere few minutes.
Amidst the appreciation for the emergence of PG content like Love, Simon, Young Royals, and Heartstopper, there’s an undeniable distinction, even boldness, in how Alex and Henry’s insatiable desire for each other stands out within the charming and light-hearted ambiance of the film.
Red, White & Royal Blue streams on Prime Video.