Red White and Royal Blue: A Tale of Love and Politics | Review

Ananya Shroff
6 Min Read

Red White and Royal Blue: A Tale of Love and Politics

“Red, White, and Royal Blue” stands as a testament to the profound impact chemistry has on storytelling, particularly in the realm of romance. The movie’s success hinges on the palpable connection between its characters, serving as the linchpin that distinguishes a captivating love story from a lackluster one. The delicate development of the relationship between protagonists Alex and Henry, marked by their sincere communication and playful flirtation, elevates the film to greatness. The narrative’s ability to translate the power of social media into a vehicle for discovering and adapting remarkable stories for the screen is laudable. The adept translation of the book to the film medium by the writers deserves commendation, demonstrating their keen judgment in making the movie equally, if not more, captivating than its literary counterpart. While the book retains its superior status, the film admirably keeps pace.

The Intrigue of “Red White and Royal Blue”

Delving into the movie’s essence, the question arises: What makes “Red, White, and Royal Blue” an enthralling watch? The notion that queer love parallels heterosexual love, despite being a commonplace argument, falls short when the inherently political nature of love comes into focus. The movie itself provides evidence of this distinction, even when set outside the political arena. The intricate entwinement of politics and social standing with an individual’s sexuality becomes starkly evident, leaving an indelible impression. Reflections upon works like “Alex Strangelove,” “Heartstopper,” and “Young Royals” underscore the intricate nature of finding and cherishing love, a process that extends far beyond the simplicity of a name.

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“Heartstopper” emerges as a poignant exploration of the immense significance of coming out in the context of a couple’s happiness, revealing the strains that secrecy imposes on relationships and lives. “Red, White, and Royal Blue” provides a glimpse into this dynamic through Henry’s character. While the portrayal may seem slightly detached or under-explained, Henry’s articulation of the concept resonates powerfully—accepting same-gender love often means exchanging one form of confinement for another. This observation unveils the intricate politics of aspiration, with one’s sexuality playing a pivotal role. The film addresses this theme with a feel-good approach, yet deeper examination underscores the assertion that love invariably intersects with politics.

A Regal Parallel

Shifting gears, the thought of Meghan Markle emerges while watching the movie. The connection, though somewhat enigmatic, arises as Henry discusses the relevance of monarchy. His words evoke memories of similar discussions during Meghan’s time. This prompts contemplation on the film’s portrayal of the country’s collective progressiveness, which feels somewhat unconvincing in the final moments. The presence of openly gay royals throughout monarchy’s history raises questions about how “Red, White, and Royal Blue” might have unfolded had Alex and Henry been Alexa and Henrietta. Would the narrative retain its feel-good quality in the face of both homophobia and sexism?

Capturing Character Essence

Beyond its thematic depth, the film’s success also hinges on the chemistry between its actors and the authenticity they bring to their characters’ smiles. Regardless of whether one has read the book, familiarity with Alex and Henry’s personalities is palpable. This effect results from astute writing and the chemistry that underscores their interactions. Their smiles serve as mirrors of their literary counterparts. Alex exudes affability and charm, while Henry’s smiles carry a poised distinction, whether at work or in the presence of his beloved.

Casting and Chemistry

Nicholas Galitzine impeccably captures this distinction, a feat that endears the casting choices to the audience. The chemistry between actors extends beyond emotion to encompass a physical dimension, a vital component when portraying romantic partners on screen. This perspective prompts reminiscence of a recent drama, “King The Land,” where despite visual compatibility, the leads lacked the essential chemistry. In contrast, “Red, White, and Royal Blue” emerges unscathed from this pitfall.

Visual Splendor and Romance

Cinematography plays a pivotal role in the film’s allure. From party scenes to idyllic moments by a lakeside house or a quaint tea cafe with the Eiffel Tower as backdrop, the scenery rivals the characters in beauty. This visual splendor amplifies the movie’s inherent romanticism.

A Recommendation for Both Readers and Non-Readers

For book enthusiasts, “Red, White, and Royal Blue” offers a fresh perspective on the narrative, illustrating how fidelity to the story’s essence sustains its enchantment. In the company of works like “Heartstopper” and the underrated “Call Me By Your Name,” the film serves as a testament to the versatility of storytelling across mediums. For those unacquainted with the book, it presents an opportunity to witness the narrative’s magic unfurl through a different lens, reinforcing the timeless allure of the story.

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