Rating: 5 out of 5.

The cutest movie of the year has officially arrived! Highly anticipated gay rom-com Red, White & Royal Blue, based upon the bestselling book from Casey McQuiston, happens to also mark the filmmaking debut of Broadway’s The Inheritance wunderkind Matthew Lopez. Two undeniably attractive leads in Nicholas Galitzine and Taylor Zakhar Perez supercharge the duo’s red-hot chemistry. An unlikely, forbidden pairing—the son of the president, and a British royal Prince—gives way to an international incident threatening to break down years of negotiations between America and the Brits. Prepare to be swept up in this unforgettable whirlwind romance!

While attending the storybook wedding of Prince Philip (Thomas Flynn), future King of England, to his beloved childhood sweetheart, the cake-catastrophe incident occurs that will alter the course of two lives forever. Alex Claremont-Diaz (Perez) already hates the fact that the paparazzi refer to him as the American Prince Henry, so greeting Henry (Galitzine) in person is altogether triggering. The two have a history (Henry once talked down on Alex at a conference in Melbourne), but Henry refuses to even shake Alex’s hand. As the party erupts, Alex wastes no time getting buzzed. Alex playfully cheers on the stuffy Henry on the sidelines. Instead of deescalating the situation, one shove ends up completely destroying the massive cake of Prince Philip and his bride. Alex and Henry end the party covered in cake from head to toe as it topples all over them. To call it CakeGate would be apt.

So how did Henry end up in Buckingham palace covered in cake? This becomes the veritable talk of the town. The press wants to get to the bottom of it all, none more than Alex’s ex-fling, Miguel (Juan Castano). In order to cover their asses, publicists on both sides arrange for Alex and Henry’s new normal to be that they are the very best of friends. Alex, who views Henry as a snobby rich white boy, is not thrilled that he has to pretend. Henry seems rather unfazed—though he finds Alex irritating, perhaps he can tolerate him long enough for things to blow over. Begrudgingly, the two pose for friendship photos to cover for their playful cake debacle.

To say that opposites attract would be a total understatement. The sexual tension becomes palpable enough to cut with a cake knife. A genius shot and needle drop comes in the moment they first really notice each other in a more-than-friends kind of way. On New Year’s Eve, magic is in the air when Alex and Henry lock eyes from across the dance floor. As everyone else is busy dropping it down to “Get Low,” the duo stays high. Sealing the night with a kiss only further complicates the positions of both men. Royals are forbidden to date members of the same sex. Though Henry eventually privately discloses he is “as gay as a maypole,” Alex is far more confused about both his sexuality, and particularly his attraction to Prince Henry. They may not be so different after all…

Red, White & Royal Blue would simply not work without the chemistry between Perez and Galitzine. Both men play two different prominent figures with opposing lifestyles. Henry, who has always desired to be anonymous and fade into the background, finds Alex intriguing. Navigating staying in the closet amid his blossoming relationship, Henry’s story is telling about the homophobia that continues to rage in Britain. Henry’s happy place is a museum after-hours, where he can roam free from the gawking bystanders and paparazzi. On the flipside, Alex clings to his working-class roots. He debates whether to lean into joining his mother’s reelection campaign, and Prince Henry’s complicated familial ties. Director Matthew Lopez adds dashes of magic to their relationship, including visualizing phone calls as the two being in the same room together. The build-up and intimacy feels worth every second of the picture’s nearly two-hour runtime. They explore who the top and bottom will be in the relationship, and fleeting fingers find their way across one another’s bodies.

Red, White & Royal Blue brings timeless gay romance to Prime Video in a major way that will define a new generation of rom-com fanatics. Having never read the book, I was still impressed with the amount of detail weaved into a tight script from Lopez and co-writer Ted Malawer. Red, White & Royal Blue defines what queer love could be like for two men, while dabbling lightly in both American and British politics. Imaginative visual flair pans over bodies and colorful locales. A rainy proclamation of love, whose scene played out while an actual storm raged outside the window of my house, only added to the atmosphere. Side characters serve to flesh out this sugary-sweet world, including vice president granddaughter, Nora (Rachel Hilson), and Henry’s supportive sister, Princess Beatrice (Ellie Bamber). An R-rating ensures that nothing is sanitized. Sexuality organic to the story expands the relationship between these two men in a believable way. In the words of Prince Henry, Red, White & Royal Blue is 100% the “swooniest.”

Love is in the air when Red, White & Royal Blue debuts exclusively to Prime Video on Friday, August 11th.

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