Red, White & Royal Blue 2023 movie review

When you encounter a love story involving British royalty and the first son of the United States, it’s easy to imagine a blend of Downton Abbey magnified infinitely, with a touch of Air Force One and Independence Day for good measure. “Red White & Royal Blue,” which marks playwright Matthew Lopez’s directorial debut based on Casey McQuiston’s eponymous book, carries a hint of the splendid period drama akin to Julian Fellowes’ work while boasting its own buoyant and effervescent essence.

The film commences with the grand wedding of England’s crown prince, Philip (portrayed by Thomas Flynn). Representing his mother, US President Ellen Claremont (played by Uma Thurman), at the royal nuptials, Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez) arrives with the intention of strengthening the US-British ties during a crucial period for Claremont’s re-election campaign.

However, things take a dramatic turn when Alex and Henry (Nicholas Galitzine), the younger brother of Prince Philip, engage in a very public altercation that culminates in the toppling of an elaborate wedding cake. This incident sparks a frenzy in the tabloids and on social media, with one newspaper headline humorously screaming “The buttercream summit.”

Necessitating damage control, Alex is dispatched back to London to mend ties with Henry. Although their initial interactions are a façade of friendliness, they gradually realize that their bickering and rivalry may be masking deeper sentiments.

All the quintessential elements of a romantic comedy are present and accounted for: the clash followed by reconciliation, parental revelations, moments of both laughter and tears, passionate messages, the internal conflict between desire and duty, tradition and following one’s heart. These elements intermingle with a re-election campaign and the presence of a sly journalist, creating a delightful blend. What’s impressive is that none of these elements feel clichéd or overused.

“Red White & Royal Blue” exudes a certain freshness and charm that’s undeniably infectious, inducing a grin from its viewers. Perez and Galitzine carry an appealing, lived-in vibe to their characters, who are unmistakably reminiscent of fairytale figures. Thurman captivates in her red gown and Texan drawl, adding allure to her character. Stephen Fry embodies a stiff upper lip with a touch of vulnerability in his portrayal of the stern British monarch, King James III.

Sarah Shahi from “Sex/Life” presents an intriguingly odd portrayal of Zahra Bankston, a member of Claremont’s staff. Her exaggerated gestures underscore her apparent concern for the unfolding events. Ellie Bamber portrays Princess Beatrice, Henry’s supportive sister, while Clifton Collins Jr. takes on the role of Oscar Diaz, Alex’s father, displaying both intelligence and empathy.

Amidst the current tumultuous events worldwide, indulging in this concoction of fairy tale elements—a heartwarming love story—doesn’t seem like such a wicked indulgence. It serves as a reminder of the lightness of romantic comedies, a genre that might just be revitalized through this sweet narrative.


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By acinetv