Netflix movie Purple Hearts draws both criticism and praise

Sofia Carson and Nicholas Galitzine star in Netflixs Purple Hearts, the story of a couple whose marriage of convenience grows into one of deep love.

Sofia Carson and Nicholas Galitzine star in Netflix’s Purple Hearts, the story of a couple whose marriage of convenience grows into one of deep love.

Purple Hearts was just one of the films released on Netflix in July, and it has since received plenty of mixed reviews. The movie exceeded 150 million viewing hours within the first 10 days of its release, delivering a heartwarming love story about a military couple. However, many question the instances of political incorrectness that made the cut.

In the movie, Cassie Salazar (Sofia Carson), an aspiring musician with Type 1 diabetes, struggles to pay for her insulin and other living expenses while pursuing her passion. Luke Morrow (Nicholas Galitzine), a Marine and recovering drug addict, struggles to pay off the debts he racked up during desperate times. 

Both in financial trouble, the two people from opposite political and social backgrounds agree to a marriage of convenience so they can financially benefit from the monthly payments that married military couples receive from the government. However, this relationship soon develops into much more.

Many have commented that this “marriage of convenience” is not accurately portrayed in the movie. Olympic Heights Marine JROTC instructor Master Sergeant Wayne Byron stated, “It’s over the top in some ways, like how fast he [Luke] gets arrested and taken away. None of that would really happen; it just adds to the drama for the movie.” 

Some have praised the movie for having many themes and life lessons that should be more publicized. The movie displays the way in which individuals can put aside their differences for love, with Cassie’s “blue” views melding with Luke’s “red” views to form “purple hearts.” It also has been praised as a love letter to military families.

That being said, the movie received immense backlash online for being what some call a piece of “military propaganda.” Viewers were disappointed by the portrayal of the film’s primary feminist character. It seemed clear that while the “purple hearts” imagery was meant to convey compromise, liberal ideologies were more often sacrificed for conservative ones. They also felt as though the military and conservatism were glorified on-screen, which makes sense considering the U.S. military aided in the production of the movie.

In addition, the producers of Purple Hearts have also been blasted for including unnecessary racism and sexism in the film’s dialogue. In a dinner scene, a Marine proposes a toast to “hunting down some goddamn Arabs.” When Cassie openly expresses her distaste for the comment, Luke orders her to sit down, and she reluctantly obeys. Many viewers heavily disliked the silencing of Cassie’s objection.

Many people reacted saying that scenes such as this should not have been included in the movie, as such statements can be very offensive. “We did have to adjust a bit of the dialogue to show a more balanced depiction of the Marine Corps,” Purple Hearts director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum said in response to the criticism. “A couple of soldiers in the movie weren’t particularly educated and were making slurs. So we balanced it out with a couple of the other characters.” 

Despite the anti-Arab rhetoric and misogynistic comments, many acknowledged the representation included in the film. Viewers observed the flags that Cassie has hung on her balcony, including those representing LGBTQ+ pride and Black Lives Matter. Many were also glad to see Carson cast as the female lead in the movie, representing the Latino community. 

While it’s true that the movie has received some backlash, it has also received an overwhelming amount of love from the public. Many viewers felt that the love story sent a beautiful message to the public: two people with completely different backgrounds can fall in love, even under unique circumstances. “They [Luke and Cassie] are a part of two totally different careers but went through so many different obstacles,” OH sophomore Madison Goncalves commented. “You learn not to judge someone based on their cover. It was definitely one of my favorite movies.”