‘Red, White and Royal Blue’ Review: One of the Best Romances of the Year

Red White and Royal Blue poster featuring Alex and Henry smiling at each other.

Based on the best-selling romance novel by Casey McQuiston, Matthew Lopez’s on-screen adaptation of Red White and Royal Blue is a gem from start to finish. Rarely is a romance adapted onto the screen as beautifully, nailing every storytelling beat that makes the story memorable. Now, full disclosure, I’ve not read the book. With a recent string of disappointing adaptations in recent years, I opted out of this one once I learned about the movie’s release because I wanted to go into it without any expectations. Yet, it made me feel exactly like reading a five-star romance novel does. It might not be a word-for-word adaptation, but Red White and Royal Blue is a gorgeously tender love story that will undoubtedly stand the test of time and leave a mark.

In order for a romance to be successful without being too saccharine, a few details are pertinent: a memorable, organic meet-cute, riveting banter, big moments of longing, and significant junctures of vulnerability that allow both characters to grow. As viewers, we need to see and understand why this love is worth rooting for, and from beginning to end, Taylor Zakhar Perez’s Alex Claremont-Diaz and Nicholas Galitzine’s Prince Henry show us why they’re right for each other. While their love scenes are scorching, it’s the quiet moments that stick the landing beautifully—the messages back and forth, the gazes that linger a little too long, and, perhaps, most notably in the world of romance, the hand flexes.  

Alex and Henry holding hands at a museum in Red White and Royal Blue.
©Prime Video

From a non-book reader’s perspective, while I certainly know that I’m missing out on some crucial details that are often impossible to adapt in a two-hour movie, the film still does a reputable job of making their love feel authentic. The pacing works to establish the ongoing plot of both their individual lives while thoroughly focusing the story on the romance. And though there’s no inner monologue to showcase introspective emotions, Perez and Galitzine do an incredible job of letting the audience in on what drives the characters to fall in love with one another.

Together, they find a safe space to land, away from prying eyes. And in each other, they find someone who sees them as they truly are. Red White and Royal Blue is a brilliantly stunning mosaic in every way.

As someone who thrives on moments of vulnerability to ultimately feel why couples fall in love and how they’re able to show each other parts of themselves no one else sees, the intimate beats in Red White and Royal Blue are heartrending—they’re indescribable. The healing power of hugs is on full display in moments that result in clenching the pillow so tight because you’re holding your breath throughout it.

Alex and Henry hugging at a museum in Red White and Royal Blue
©Prime Video

The chemistry is spot-on, the supporting characters are lovely, and the production design is stunning. The best thing about reading a romance is losing ourselves in the world writers create, and likewise, the film is perfect escapism—versions of places we know in the real world are better and more inviting. It makes Alex and Henry’s romance more addictive, nudging viewers to want in on every part of their journey. It’s an intimate, beautifully timeless story, carefully crafted to showcase the importance of the spaces people take up and their agency to live and be as they choose. It’s an astounding feature that underscores how spending the rest of your life with your person makes every moment exquisite.

From the effective directing to the incredible screenplay by Casey McQuiston, Matthew López, and Ted Malawer and the stunning life the entire cast breathes into their characters, the film is a rare gem for adaptations. It should’ve premiered in film festivals, allowing it to go to the theater. It’s a must-watch summer hit that people will obsess over for years. It’s a celebration of a vast array of complexities threading seamlessly to create a tapestry that results in a dazzling feat.

Red White and Royal Blue will stream on Prime Video starting August 11.
First Featured Image: ©Prime Video


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