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Red, White and Royal Blue Amazon Adaptation Proves to Make Itself an LGBTQ+ Romcom Classic

By David T. Valentin

Red, White and Royal Blue proves itself to be a fairly faithful adaptation of its source material, cutting what it can and accentuating the heart of the book: beautifully timed jokes hilariously delivered on film, the passionate romance between first son Alex Claremont-Diaz and Prince Henry, and a fairly inspirational progressive message.

The film opens up right away to the feud between first son Alex Claremont-Diaz and Prince Henry, as Alex rants about how much of a pretentious ass Prince Henry is. It immediately and hilariously sets up the enemy-to-lover trope in a familiar way while grounding viewers new to the story. Readers of the book will note the absence of June, Alex’s journalist sister who keeps watch over Alex and tries to keep him in check in the books. While the change is disappointing at first, the absence of June’s character doesn’t take away from the somewhat complicated dichotomy of having a mother who is a president and the obligations and responsibilities of both at the same time as shown in scenes later on between Taylor Zachary Perez and the talented Uma Thurman.

Right from the start we’re thrown into the drunken escapades of Alex and his tit for tat with Prince Henry as the latter tries to maintain careful composure in order to maintain appearances of the royal family. As the two exchange jabs at one another, their chemistry together is so painfully obvious that it’s comedically sexy to watch. I mean, could Taylor Zachary Perez and Nicholas Galitzine get any hotter with their chemistry with one another? When Prince Henry gives Alex a little push, the two end up crashing down on the floor along with a $75,000 royal wedding cake.

Immediately, the White House and the Royal Family go into crisis control, forcing the two men to go on a PR stunt that will, hopefully, convince the whole rest of the world that the two are buddy buddy. And when Prince Henry shows his more caring side in front of Alex, Alex begins to think there might actually be an actual friendship forming between the two.

After Alex and Henry share intimate phone calls where the two begin to get to know each other, it’s clear their friendship is already heading into something more than just friends.

From there, hilarity ensues after the two share a kiss with one another at Alex’s yearly New Year’s Eve Ball and that’s really where the fun begins in the film.

The adaptation of some of the scenes such as the phone texts between Alex and Henry, the sex scene after the polo match, and the famous scene where Zahra discovers their secret relationship, was perfectly adapted to the big screen. It keeps the quick pace of the couple’s intimate and passionate spiraling romance. I mean, how much better can you get with tying a naughty sex scene with the bouncing of Nicholas Galitzine’s ass bouncing on a horse in a tight polo uniform without missing a beat or taking away from the hilarity of their quick sexcapades with one another?

But don’t worry: the film takes its time to slow the pacing down during the more emotional scenes, such as their first sex scene and when Alex decides to top Henry, which is a more intimate moment than one of raw passion like their other sex/make out scenes.

The film stumbles a bit where there is no comedy, the small in betweens where Alex and Henry have their tougher conversations but only really once. In the scene before Henry makes his Cinderella like run out of Texas and back to England where Alex talks about wanting to be more opened with their relationship, it’s a bit fast paced, a little too quick without enough of the spiraling you feel happening in the book. The film could have definitely spent more time during this scene, but the symbolism of Henry diving into the water and lingering on him thus symbolizing his feeling of drowning in his anxiety and depression was an excellently filmed shot.

One scene that absolutely broke me was when Alex first sees Henry after Henry is forced to cut off communication with the prince. In the scene, Alex barges into Kensington Palace where Henry meets him halfway down the stairs. Henry collapses in Alex’s arms and viewers really see Henry breathing for the first time since the leaks about their intimate relationship with one another. The next scene couples that perfectly with Henry smiling cheerfully as he plays the piano for Alex.

The film beautifully captures the ways in which sometimes people struggling with depression can really be saved by loving someone. Often, people echo the sentiment that, “if you can’t love yourself, how can you love someone else?” But sometimes by learning to love someone else, you come to love and appreciate yourself as you try to be the best version of yourself even when you’re struggling with anxiety and depression. To see that so beautifully represented on the screen so accurately as in the book had me teary eyed. It’s also fairly rare to see depression accurately represented on the screen without a, “the only true way to find a way to cope with your mental illness is to learn to pull yourself out,” type of message. Relationships aren’t always 50/50. Sometimes, one or the other has to put in more time to carry the other out of a funk and I really loved the way that was portrayed on screen with such delicacy and attention to detail.

Those looking for an exact book to film adaptation may be disappointed at the changes made for the film adaptation of Red, White and Royal Blue, but the film sacrifices very little of the heart that makes Red, White and Royal Blue the emotionally successful story that it is especially given that the film doesn’t really try to be an exact book to film adaptation. What the film seeks to do is create a familiar but unique experience for the big screen with Red, White and Royal Blue that fits perfectly as a classic romcom on film with all the familiar beats of its source material. As Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message,” and that proves especially true for Red, White and Royal Blue.

To create a fun, classic LGBTQ+ romcom is still such a rarity even in 2023. While Red, White and Royal Blue isn’t a super fateful adaptation to its source material, it does a fun job at creating a classical, fun romcom for new fans experiencing the story through film for the first time while creating a new and unique touch for readers of the book watching the film.


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