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‘Red, White & Royal Blue’: Wattpad is Taking Over Hollywood

“Red, White & Royal Blue” is enjoyable but it falls into many of the pitfalls of the Wattpad genre.
Nicholas Galitzine and Taylor Zakhar Perez in “Red, White & Royal Blue” (Courtesy of Amazon Studios)


The much anticipated queer romance “Red, White & Royal Blue,” based on the Casey McQuinton novel was released early this August with surprisingly decent reviews.

To Bone or Not to Bone

The film directed by freshman director Matthew Lopez, follows Alex who is the son of the United States president. Alex portrayed by Taylor Zakhar Perez and Henry, the Prince of England, is played by Nicholas Galitzine. Enemies for some non-convincing reason, the two are forced together after a mishap on their part threatens the relationship between the U.S. and the United Kingdom. This show proves to be in the vein of Wattpad, an online platform that allows users to read and publish original stories. So of course, it’s not enough to simply explore the romance and interpersonal relationship between two people. Instead, the fate of the entire world absolutely must rely on whether or not two people bone. And of course, they do.

Should We Gatekeep Writing Literature From Horny People?

It’s hard to describe this movie without repeatedly bringing up Wattpad and the impact fan fiction has had on mainstream media. We all know about the 9/11 to My Chemical Romance to “Twilight” to “Fifty Shades of Grey” pipeline. Every year another straight-to-streaming, steamy romance pops out of the woodwork and infiltrates everyone’s social media feeds. “The Kissing Booth,” “He’s All That,” “After” and “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” The list goes on and on. Each addition becomes tackier and more juvenile while simultaneously upping the smut. Who exactly is the target audience if the movie is both too poorly made to engage most adults and far too sexual to be directed at children?

“Red, White & Royal Blue” is perfectly enjoyable, but it falls into many of the pitfalls of the Wattpad genre. The dialogue was subpar, with Marvel language, “He’s right behind me isn’t he?” lines that made me cringe. Characters say such profound and believable statements as “I will no longer be the prince of shame and of secrets” and “When we’re apart your body comes back to me in my dreams.” The last line might have been beautiful if it weren’t so incredibly out of place. Not even five minutes into the plot Perez, seemingly out of nowhere delivers the incredible line, “Did your parents send you to snobbery school, or does looking down on people just come naturally to you?” Every “Good comebacks for 8th grade bullies” post I saw in 2013 flashed before my eyes as if before my death.

The acting in the movie is also not Oscar-worthy. Perez in particular, seemed straight out of a TikTok acting challenge as he fumbled about screen and enunciated the living hell out of every word he could. Dramatic scenes were resolved almost immediately and the dialogue was so awkward even Uma Thurman, who played Alex’s mom, couldn’t keep the movie on track.

Hillary Clinton’s Hollywood Debut

Perhaps the most awkward thing about the movie was the surface-level politics that permeated the plot. The discussion of LGBTQ+ rights was less nuanced than many other films we’ve had in the past few years, but it was entirely acceptable. It was much more the times the film would try to discuss classism or international relations that it ended up feeling like Hilary Clinton-style U.S. propaganda.

It feels almost petty to critique a film so obviously for adolescents. It is rated R, but even that feels like a stretch. This is the type of movie I would encourage anyone with any real responsibilities to spend their time watching. Unless they have a major thing for Prince Harry.


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About the Contributor
Edie Raines, Copy Editor
Edie Raines is a copy editor at the Daily Utah Chronicle and used to be an arts writer. They are pursuing a degree in English and French at the U.

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    Andre MontoyaAug 26, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    I enjoyed the movie for the most part but its budget definitely showed. Like I can tell that’s a backyard in England and not the Texas outback. Could Bezos not spare a few extra million so they could shoot on location?