The film – which I had been eagerly awaiting since Lifetime announced it in January – did not disappoint. Of course it was over-the-top and cheesy and ridiculous, as other reviews will tell you, but that was exactly what I wanted out of it. If we could all stop pretending to be Roger Ebert for a moment and just unapologetically enjoy fun things, we would all be much happier.
Note: spoilers below!
Still, the outlandishness must be addressed. Twelve-year-old Harry diverting Charles’s bullet from hitting the lion in Botswana? The airport letting Meghan stroll right up to Harry’s plane because she promised she was his girlfriend? The idea that Prince Charles isn’t a total loser? (Sue me for libel, Mr. “first-in-line” – I would like to see you TRY.) We have to remember that these are real people with real lives that we do not have full access to, and what’s a capitalist Lifetime executive to do but embellish? This goes without saying, but certainly take this film with a grain of salt.
I can’t tell you how happy I was to see William and Kate, now in a much different stage of life than they were at the end of their respective Lifetime film, play major roles in the movie. It was sweet, fun and honestly a little sad to see these once 19-year-old university students falling in love now be the serious, older, put-together character foils to Harry, the freewheeling bachelor. They clearly got their happy ending, but it kind of made me nervous to think about how we all grow up and become somebody’s boring older sibling in the end – unless we don’t have any siblings to be compared to. Then we’re just boring.
You know what bothers me in life? Why did they not use the Will and Kate from the Will and Kate Lifetime movie for the Harry and Meghan Lifetime movie? Continuity people #HarryAndMeghanARoyalRomance— Lucy Bradford (@LucyCharlotte11) May 14, 2018
The best part of the film though, was Meghan Markle. Parisa Fitz-Henley was wonderful, accurately portraying the Northwestern alumna as the independent, determined woman she is. Throughout the film we’re reminded that Meghan succeeded in getting a dish soap company to change a sexist ad, that she wants to have a career and a family, and that she will not give up everything she worked so hard for just because an British prince fancies her. In the movie, this is, partially, why Harry cares for her so much. She was the picture of feminism, composure and grace I only hope I could be if a royal ever showed interest in me. (I’m kidding. Sort of?)Of course, we know that Meghan doesn’t continue acting after her engagement. We know she stops posting on her blog, The Tig, and that she deletes her social media accounts. The film addresses this, with Harry infuriated at the idea of Meghan having to give up her opinions and outlets to be with him. Meghan finds peace in living the stereotypical royal life after being reminded by a young Black girl that her role in the British royal family would mean a lot for social progress in our world.
The film doesn’t shy away from addressing race. Meghan knows she is not just different than other royal girlfriends because she is American and divorced, but also because she is half Black. A high-society friend of Harry’s makes a comment about her hair, and even tries to touch it. She acknowledges how wrong it was of Vanity Fair to edit out her freckles and recounts to Harry a time her mother was called a racial slur and how that encounter ruined a special day they’d had. She has always had to think about race and its place in her life, and refuses to just brush it off.
Harry, too, tries his best to call out problematic behavior that is clearly racialized in his family, as in the case of his telling a family member at Pippa’s wedding to take off the racist broach she was wearing (based on a real life incident). He critiques the history of imperialism and colonialism that his family still, in a way, represents. I sincerely hope that the real Harry (and Will and Charles and Kate and the rest) do address these problems in real life.
Overall, this movie was everything I wanted. Lots of Diana mentions, lots of ~spicy~ kissing scenes, lots of pure goofiness. It tackled serious and important issues through the framing of a love story. Still, though the film suggests otherwise, I will forever hold the headcanon that Michelle Obama was the mutual friend who introduced Harry and Meghan, and will continue to believe that even if I am factually proven wrong.
Thankfully, we will get a nice epilogue to the film on Saturday, when the real royal wedding airs real-time on television.