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Red, White & Royal Blue Director Reminds Us Why Happy Endings Matter

'Red, White & Royal Blue' Director Reminds Us Why Happy Endings Matter

Red, White & Royal Blue
Prime Video

Queer films haven't always had this luxury.

rachelkiley

Red, White & Royal Blue, the film adaptation of the Casey McQuiston novel of the same name, was released on Amazon Prime Video last Friday, and fans have already flocked to the streaming service to check it out.

The reception has been overwhelmingly positive so far, both for it feeling like a faithful adaptation of the popular novel and for being a sweet, wholesome queer love story—and one with (spoiler alert) a happy ending, at that.

Director Matthew López recently spoke with Digital Spy about how Red, White & Royal Blue is a pointed shift away from the type of queer narrative many of us grew up with.

“When I was growing up as a baby gay, what few stories there were about being queer were always about death and dying,” he recalled. “So I think one of the reasons I was drawn to this story in the first place was that it had a happy ending. There weren’t happy endings in queer movies when I was growing up.”

Although things have shifted in recent years, it was only seven years ago, in 2016, when the furor against “bury your gays” on TV seemingly hit its peak with the death of Lexa on The 100. New attention was brought to the trope on a mainstream level, causing even people outside of the LGBTQ+ community to consider the longterm harm that has been done to generations where almost every queer character they encountered in media was murdered to further the plot, further another character’s story, or simply provide shock value and a tragic twist to a tale they couldn’t imagine ending in a happily ever after.

And López, who is 46, acknowledges that the idea of a happy ending for queer characters may not be as “revolutionary” for the younger generation, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

“For someone my age, there is something audacious about a happy ending in a queer story,” he said. “But I also love that it isn’t audacious anymore. We absolutely want a happy ending for those two characters. We want them to be happy because we want to be happy ourselves.”

In other words, it’s a romcom. And that’s finally a genre we get to take part in.

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Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.