Purple Hearts

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Nicholas Galitzine as Luke, Sofia Carson as Cassie in Purple Hearts.
Nicholas Galitzine as Luke, Sofia Carson as Cassie in Purple Hearts.
Photo: Mark Fellman/Netflix


Purple Hearts




3/5 Stars


Despite their many differences, Cassie (Sofia Carson), a struggling singer-songwriter, and Luke (Nicholas Galitzine), a troubled marine, agree to marry solely for military benefits. But when tragedy strikes, the line between real and pretend begins to blur.


Grab the tissues because Netflix is back with a real tearjerker.

In a nutshell, Purple Hearts is a film that will take you completely out of whatever is going on in the real world and put your emotions on a roller coaster of love, hate, tears, and joy. But it's not perfect.

Directed by Ben Lewin and Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, the movie is based on the 2017 book of the same name by Tess Wakefield. And as expected, the adaptation is just another Hallmark movie. Sexier, perhaps, but nothing new nonetheless.

The main issue I had with this film is the inconsistent way it dealt with Cassie's type 1 diabetes diagnosis. I don't have diabetes. However, multiple people in my family do. And from my experience, yes, insulin is extremely expensive, and medical health care does not offer complete coverage. And yes, it is a chronic health condition that needs constant monitoring. Still, it is not a health condition that deserves the severe negative attitude everyone seems to have towards it at the start of the film. And sure, coming to terms with having diabetes is difficult, and I can understand why Cassie wouldn't want help or depend on anyone. But, honestly, the narrative should have dealt with it positively to show young people with diabetes that they can live with it and that it doesn't have to define who they are. Now, I said inconsistent because while Cassie's struggle to pay for insulin forms a large part of the storyline, it is somehow forgotten until Luke has to feed her some glucose after her sugar dramatically drops. It was frustrating that in the beginning, diabetes is depicted as this giant ugly elephant in the room that Cassie has to deal with and then it just fizzles out.

Rant over.

All in all, Purple Hearts is a really good bad movie. While critics hated it – Claire Shaffer of The New York Times was unhappy with both the plot and the standard of acting from the leads – viewers at home loved it, giving it an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Look, it's not going to win Oscars, but between the absurd plotline, which actually makes sense if you think about it. I mean, people create fake marriages for green cards; why wouldn't they for free medical insurance? There's also the attractive cast, plus some good singing by Carson. It's totally enjoyable.

As I mentioned, Carson has a beautiful voice, think Britney Spears meets Cher, and I enjoyed the way her music, the songs she writes and sings, progressed as the story did. Music is a deeply personal thing and if nothing else draws you in, then let her honest writing (as the character) and emotional performing at least nudge you to press play. You also feel that the Disney star is trying to move away from her squeaky clean, and innocent look.

Galitzine was also not bad in his role. I was hoping he might have more of a part with the musical side of things after his role as ridiculously marvellous violinist Johnnie in 2016's High Strung. Then again, he had no musical influence in Camilla Cabello's Cinderella musical, so… One thing he does do well is play the sexy leading man, regardless of the lack of emotion that can sometimes be distracting. That said, he and Carson had to work hard to relate their onscreen chemistry. Yes, at the start of the film, it obviously plays into the cliché of disliking one another and then falling in love, but there were times I was a little unconvinced. As Luke repeatedly points out, when they decide to marry, they must make people believe they love each other. Well, I wasn't entirely convinced.

Purple Hearts is not perfect, but if you're looking for something to escape and need to have a good ol' cry, grab the tissues and settle in for a true tearjerker.


Purple Hearts is now streaming on Netflix.

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