New to Netflix Summer 2022: Purple Hearts


Illustration by Sophia Evans

Sara Segil and Becca Berlin

The latest Netflix Original rom-com “Purple Hearts” attempts to appeal to the classic idea that opposites attract, but it fails to deliver.

Cassie (Sofia Carson) is an aspiring singer and Type 1 diabetic without adequate health insurance, while Luke (Nicholas Galitzine) is a soon-to-deploy marine in debt from his former drug addiction. Even though they dislike each other due to their social and political disagreements, they decide to get married before Luke is deployed in order to receive the military benefits of healthcare and employment given to married soldiers. The movie follows the tried-and-true progression from fake dating to a real relationship, and they quickly develop an inconceivably intense romance while Luke is stationed abroad.

The chemistry between Cassie and Luke, as well as Carson’s excellent singing, are enticing but not strong enough to make the film stand out. And in just over two hours, there is not sufficient time to fully explore the social issues that the film hints at, like gun control and access to healthcare. The movie seems reverse-engineered to check as many boxes as possible, joining the ranks of Netflix’s large repertoire of tokenism-tainted projects. For one, Cassie has diabetes, which is portrayed realistically in one scene in a pharmacy when she argues with the pharmacist over the accessibility of her insulin after being denied a refill. This issue then magically disappears from her life and is barely mentioned again in the film thanks to her sham marriage with Luke and its consequential health care benefits. Her growing love for Luke then somehow becomes a more pressing issue in her life and takes prominence in the movie’s storyline, leaving the commentary on America’s health system feeling unfinished and performative.

Luke and Cassie’s love story is also left incomplete by the end of the film and makes the potential for a sequel unclear. While there is an abrupt end that leaves room for a possible follow-up film, the effect is ruined by a final music video-esque montage of Luke and Cassie frolicking on the beach seemingly months after the previous scene in the film.

Though the screenplay’s attempt to examine many relevant societal issues in a rom-com is admirable, the execution is not and discredits the importance and seriousness of the subject matter.