Purple Hearts: The Ultimate Romance of the Modern-Day Americans
By: Akithma Moraes
In the past three weeks, the world has been raving about the newly released film: Purple Hearts and its complex enemies-to-lovers storyline. The Netflix rom-com centers on Cassondra Salazar, an aspiring musician, and singer who marries marine Luke Morrow out of the need for military spouse health care in order to cover her medical expenses while he is able to earn a larger sum of pay due to their courtship.
On social media, viewers, especially book lovers, praised the actors’ chemistry and how tropes, such as love at first sight and fake to a real relationship, are weaved excellently into the story and the characters’ relationship. While many have been reposting passionate clips of the movie and even proposing a sequel, others have criticized the movie for its military propaganda, disturbing racial views, and seemingly nonexistent love story.
One example would be a scene within the film where during lunch with the comrades, one marine made a toast, celebrating life’s pleasures, including family, love, and “hunting down some goddamn A-RABS”. With the movie being centered around the marines and the service they do for the country, naturally, the story would portray them as protagonists, portraying a friendly relationship between them and the rest of the community. While many would say that this character was simply a minor part of
the major plot, it still serves as propaganda. In addition to this, ever since the film’s release, many young girls and women began to romanticize being a military wife.
Cassondra the female lead, also known as Cassie in the film, is portrayed as a strong-willed advocate, pursuing equality for all. As an immigrant daughter of a single mother, her character did not tolerate any sort of disrespect thrown at her race nor her gender. Luke the male lead, just as headstrong, fought for his country, defending it and his nationalist ideology with all his might. With such different beliefs, the audience expected there to be a scene where the protagonists discuss their views and come to an agreement or a compromise in order to achieve a mutual understanding of one another, but it never happened, leaving confusion as to how these polar opposites grew to love one another. Additionally, spectators expected for Luke to have major character development, especially after disrespecting Cassie’s mom about her citizen status and overall racist and misogynistic views. Instead, Cassie unknowingly takes her role of a military wife much more seriously than she was supposed to, shifting from this stubborn fighter to a woman who continues to love her husband that could do no wrong, resulting in a love story between a Democrat and a Republican.
When asked about this, director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, said “I hope that people
understand that in order for characters to grow, they need to be flawed in the beginning. So we very much intentionally created two characters that had been bred to hate each other…". In addition to this, lead actress and executive producer Sofia Carson commented “It's two hearts, one red, one blue, two worlds apart, who are really raised to hate each other," Carson said. "Through the power of love, they learn to lead with empathy and compassion and love each other and turn into this beautiful shade of purple.”
Even though the “power of love” brought the protagonists together in the movie, this
a supernatural force is rare in the real world, as the conflict between Democrats and
Republicans are much more significant than its romanticized version on screen, starting with how these two parties' identity conflict to begin with.
According to a survey done by Pew Research Center, it states “ About three-quarters (74%) democrats and Democratic leaners see strong or very strong conflicts between blacks and whites, compared with slightly more than half (54%) of Republicans and Republican leaners. While about seven-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners (69%) see strong or very strong conflicts between the rich and the poor, fewer than half of Republicans and GOP leaners (44%) agree…” As the data shows, those with Democratic beliefs are more likely to recognize bad blood more than Republicans, suggesting that this great difference in beliefs takes more than simple attractiveness in order for these two to even like each other much less agree with each other.
The film industry is known for bringing stories to life through the big screen. Much of the time, movies reflect modern-day issues and values that need to be instilled or reinstated in society. However, this portrayal can be misleading because certain topics may be glamorized far beyond make-believe, brainwashing audiences into accepting something that is not true. This movie not only showed why representation in movies should be accurate but also why certain concepts just cannot be romanticized for the sake of a story.
Truitt, B. (2022, August 21). 'Purple hearts': Here's why TikTok is abuzz about the popular but controversial Netflix film. USA Today. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/movies/2022/08/18/purple-hearts-netflix-military-movie-controversy/10342635002/
Gramlich, J. (2020, August 18). Far more Americans say there are strong conflicts between partisans than between other groups in society. Pew Research Center. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/12/19/far-more-americans-say-there-are-strong-conflicts-between-partisans-than-between-other-groups-in-society/