Which Was Better…The Movie or Book?
Let me start by saying I read the book in 2021. I enjoy a light gay romcom that I can whip through without too much angst or complicated plot lines. The cotton candy fluff is a welcome reprieve sometimes when life is overwhelming.
Casey McQuiston’s Red White and Royal Blue satisfied the need for the ever-growing genre of gay, lesbian, and queer books that makes you smile when you need a lighthearted, quick read that involves the LGBTQ+ community.
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince on this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations—the plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince.
As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex is hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?
The Book – What It Got Right
Diversity. Alex Claremont Diaz is our fun-loving, quick, and clever protagonist. His dad is the son of a Mexican Immigrant, and his mother was a small-town poor Texan raised by a single mother. Both of the parents’ ambitions know no bounds. They were destined for Congress and Alex’s mom, the White House. They divorced when Alex and his sister were still young but kept an amiable relationship while pursuing their political agendas. Alex and his sister June are of mixed heritage, feeling deeply tied to the Texan and Mexican sides of their heritage.
Nora’s bisexuality is accepted amongst the friend group, with no discrimination. There is an openly gay senator who is a mentor figure to Alex. This book reflects the growing normalcy of including POC and the LGBTQ+ community within the halls of the White House and Congress. Hopefully, we will see more representation as the old white men of the past, with antiquated ideals and out-of-touch policymakers, retire as new members with more diverse backgrounds and progressive ideals come into the office. Sorry. That’s my political soapbox for now, so I shall step off it.
Love wins. I love this message. Even though some might say it’s unrealistic, I’m a hopeless romantic. I want everyone to be free to love whomever they love, regardless of gender, race, social status, or sexual orientation. I also love the hints about Alex’s awakening bisexuality, even though he didn’t understand it then. He fixated on the teen magazine with Prince Henry on the cover of a magazine his sister kept in her room. He would sneak in and look at Prince Henry’s picture all the time as a teen. That’s quite the obsession. He even wondered if he could remove the staples and sneak his pic out of the issue without his sister noticing. 😁
Humor meets storytelling in a new and fresh way. Text messages between Alex and Henry show their true personality shining through as they get to know each other. Henry is funny, dry British humor and with a touch of self-deprecation that makes him charming. Alex loves to send quick quips as the two grow closer while being half a world away. It’s the modern version of writing letters, but with a more immediate reply, thus making banter as close to real-time as possible. If you have only seen the movie, read the books. There are more of their flirty and funny interactions.
Movie (Available on Amazon Prime Video)
Taylor Zakhar Perez – Alex Claremont-Diaz
Nicholas Galitzine – Prince Henry
Uma Thurman – President Ellen Claremont
Thomas Flynn – Prince Philip
Bridget Benstead – Princess Martha
Ellie Bamber – Princess Beatrice
Rachel Hilson – Nora Holleran
The Movie – What It Got Right
Politics: The never-ending meetings, the polling number updates, the spin, and the sound bytes put you firmly in the space of the American White House and politicians in the making. The elegance and ease with which the characters charm their way through a crowd gives you insight into Alex and Nora, the kids of career politicians who came from humble roots. The countless NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) that people surrounding them must sign show how important their privacy is to those in positions of power.
Banter: The movie includes many text messages between Alex and Henry as the two become close. If you watch it/read it, you will be giggling at the scene with the turkey. The relationship between Nora and Alex shines through in the way they shoot straight with each other, being honest and telling truths that the other party doesn’t want to hear.
Safe Sex: After Alex comes out as bisexual to his mother, she asks pointed questions about safe sex practices and what she may not have covered when they previously had the talk. There are condoms and lube seen on the screen. It’s very nice to know that it wasn’t just assumed but addressed directly. I wish we could have seen the PowerPoint presentation and the handouts. 😁
I liked the book, and I liked the movie. Both have their strong points. But if you want to consume both forms of the same story, I have a recommendation. Watch the film first. Then, read the book. There are things left out of the movie that irked me, but if I had watched the movie first before reading the book, I wouldn’t have been so annoyed at the exclusion of characters or the slight changing of plot points. If you have watched the movie or read the novel, please let me know what you think.
Overall Movie Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]
Overall Novel Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]