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We Need To Discuss The Major Problem With Red, White & Royal Blue

We Need To Discuss The Major Problem With 'Red, White & Royal Blue'

We Need To Discuss The Major Problem With 'Red, White & Royal Blue'

Such a great movie… except for this one thing.


Red, White & Royal Blueis a fun, heartwarming gay rom-com that got a lot of buzz prior to its release for the stellar performances and faithful adaptation of the Casey McQuinston book of the same name. Taylor Zakhar Perez as Alex Claremont-Diaz and Nicholas Galitzine as Prince Henry were charming and believable as they deliver a tear-jerking rendition of the love their characters had and the tribulations they had to endure along the way.

You can read my full gush review here, but after all the buildup and anticipation and everything that led up to the film’s release, the thing about this movie that honestly gets me so mad I’m considering starting a petition comes down to one simple thing:

Why the fook was this movie rated R?

Like, my blood is boiling because of it. I’m offended. Disturbed, even. On the one hand, I’m at a loss for words, and on the other, I feel like I could write an entire novel right now.

Here’s the thing.

First of all, there wasn’t even any language in the movie. No f-bombs, I think maybe the word “shit” once, but nary a “bitch” or an “ass” to be heard in between. So, language couldn’t have possibly been the reason for the rating (even though it’s listed as one of them.) Maybe they were in there and I just didn’t notice, but that’s actually my point — they would be so subtle you’d blink and miss them.

That then begs the question of the other part of the rating, “some sexual content and partial nudity.”

When it came to this, especially because of the book’s explicit nature (though admittedly I haven’t read it so that could also be hearsay), with all the talk about the “sex scene” and the “nudity” and all the whatever else the movie was supposed to have, I thought it was going to be another trashy depiction of what it meant to be a gay man in a gay relationship with just an added bit of scandal due to the political nature of the plot line.

What we got instead was a very tasteful, honest, genuine look at a natural progression of a gay relationship, combined with the added drama of what it meant to carry the weight of being not only a public figure, but one in massive power with a huge burden on your shoulders in one of the best gay romance movies of our time (yes I said it.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset that the movie wasn’t as explicit as the book is supposed to be, but without the singular two-second butt shot we had from Zakhar Perez jumping out of bed, there wasn’t even any nudity. The sex scenes could have been aired on the CW. The “insertion” scene the actors were so nervous about wasn’t even graphic in the slightest, but gentle, loving, and delicate.

The problem with the rating is this:

There are going to be teens and youth out there who aren’t going to be allowed to see this based alone on the rating. I, personally, grew up in a household where I wasn’t allowed to watch PG-13 movies until I was 13, supervised or not, and my mom still shudders when I watch R-rated movies. It doesn’t matter to her what it’s about in the slightest; if it’s rated R, she’s not interested.

Even parents who are supportive of their LGBTQ+ children may prevent them from watching it for fear of the “explicit nature” that only exists in the text it’s based on, whereas if it were rated PG-13, they’d be less inclined to do so.

Again, this prevents the younger generation from seeing an actual real, beautiful relationship instead of anything else that falls into the typical stereotypes. It also reinforces the idea that the simple act of being gay is bad (which the film highlights and tries to change), because it’s basically saying two men laying in bed together automatically deserves the most explicit rating, even if they’re just cuddling.

The director, Matthew López, was even caught off guard and said he wondered if the rating would be different were it a straight couple instead. Now that I’ve seen it, I can say it most definitely, absolutely, without a doubt, would be. Without the butt shot, the movie could probably even get away with a PG+ rating.

My blood is still boiling.

The idea is also still pending. Seriously, if I get any wind of backing for it, I’m on it.

Despite the completely discriminatory and unjustifiable R-rating of Red, White & Royal Blue, I highly encourage you to watch it, because it really is the gay romance movie we all need and deserve. You can stream it exclusively on Amazon Prime.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Andrew J. Stillman

Contributing Writer for

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.