August 22, 2022
Netflix’s new romance “Purple Hearts” opens with the promise of health care and higher income from a sham military marriage. It ends with one of the most worrying messages you could project to impressionable young people: if you love someone, sacrifice all your values and become submissive to your beliefs.
Following the “fake it ’til you make it” trend of many recent romances, such as “Holidate” and “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” this film seemed to attempt to call for an embrace of differences across the country. . And honestly, it couldn’t have been worse.
While the concept of two opposites finding a way to navigate their seemingly insurmountable differences is older than “Romeo and Juliet”, the part where they completely abandon their morals and disrespect each other’s mere existence is certainly new.
This movie establishes from the start that Cassie Salazar (Sofia Carson) is struggling to make ends meet. Even with her multiple jobs and income from her concerts with her band, she can barely pay her rent and cannot access her insulin.
Reflecting common problems faced by many Americans, Carson’s character is intended to represent the liberal side of the political spectrum. And luckily for her, a solution walks into her bar in the form of US Marine Luke Morrow (Nicholas Galitzine).
Galitzine’s character is a stand-up guy with strict morals who focuses heavily on the importance of the American military. However, he has outstanding debts from when he was a drug addict and he needs money to pay them off fast.
This unlikely couple decides to cheat the government and form a fake marriage for more financial and health care benefits. With their clear hatred for what the other stands for unresolved, the two marry just days before Morrow is to be deployed.
This plot had potential. If Carson and Galitzine’s characters could argue their points of view and show some kind of moral growth in either direction, then maybe their final romance would have been believable.
Instead, Carson’s character is portrayed as an intolerable and unreasonable social justice warrior rather than a young woman with real concerns about the government she lives under. Galitzine plays the good guy, the Republican savior who comes to get her out of her “snowflake” delusions.
Heavily skewed in favor of right-wing values, immigration, the military, and health care are just a few of the issues the two never resolve.
A key moment is just before deployment, when one of Morrow’s friends yells about “On the hunt for some damn Arabs! Carson’s character stands up and argues with him only for her now-husband to tell him to sit down and stop him.
“Unfortunately, having an attractive marine husband as a muse is not a good enough reason to drop your values.”
Instead of listening to her, her husband embarrasses her in front of his friends. She then leads a fake conversation to make it look like they solved the problem, while actually discussing how to make it look like they really love each other.
About halfway through the movie, Salazar just stops standing up for his beliefs and begins to fall for Galitzine’s character after he returns injured. What follows is a disgustingly sweet plot twist that’s meant to make viewers forget all the fandom of the first half.
While there are several steamy or even loving scenes written, it’s hard to watch the pair and ignore the larger context: a liberal woman caters to a conservative Marine’s needs and abandons all his beliefs, while he sacrifices none of his. .
The only benefit Carson’s character seems to receive is medical care and a thriving music career. Unfortunately, having an attractive Marine husband as a muse is not a reason enough to abandon her values.
There’s nothing romantic about abandoning your beliefs, especially just because someone is cute or your muse. Painting this movie as a standard for modern romance is an incredible disservice to young people who are susceptible to its underlying message.
This movie had the potential to demonstrate real conflict resolution, even basic character development. Instead, it presents problems that will never be solved and plays on underdeveloped stereotypes of political parties on the right and left.