Should you hit play on Netflix’s new romantic movie Purple Hearts? Here’s your rundown of the new Netflix movie and whether you should watch it.
Despite their many differences, Cassie, a struggling singer-songwriter, and Luke, a troubled Marine, agree to marry solely for military benefits. But when tragedy strikes, the line between real and pretend begins to blur.
Sofia Carson leads the cast as Cassie (Descendants, Feel The Beat) and Nicholas Galitzine stars as Luke (Cinderella, High Strung).
Ever since her days on Disney’s Descendants, Sofia Carson has been searching for something to build on her breakout. Over the past few years, Netflix has tried desperately to bring that dream to reality.
In 2020, Netflix tapped her to be the lead of Feel the Beat, a movie about a small town girl turned broadway dancer that has to move back home after an unfortunate audition derails her career. She reluctantly turns to teaching dance to a group of misfit kids and leading them towards dance competition glory. While not entirely successful, the movie did put Carson into leading role status and show off her skills as a dancer and performer; But would Carson want to shed the Disney background even more by setting her sights on something more adult and dramatic?
Enter PURPLE HEARTS.
Produced by Carson herself, she steps into the role of Cassie, a bartender/waitress struggling to get her singing career off the ground and struggling to get her medical issues under control. Sounds like a perfect mix to show off Carson’s talents beyond acting and move her into more serious drama, right? While on paper that sentiment may be true, in execution however, her performance showed why she may not have received these types of opportunities to this point. Like many characters she has portrayed over the years, Carson’s Cassie seems to lack emotional depth and bothers herself more with being angry & dour more than developing a range that would be warranted to handle the myriad of emotional fallouts that happen in this film. (And while I am a humble film critic, I can’t say I was too impressed with her chops as a singer either. You can put that breathy version of “Sweet Caroline” right into the garbage.)
As for the film itself, Purple Hearts does Carson very few favors in terms of its overwrought plot construction and tired dialogue that spends half the time coming straight from a 24 News Network teleprompter.
In the first 15 minutes, we have to deal with the life balance of a struggling musician, the mansplaining of the weakness of liberal talking points, the appeal of marrying for health insurance, the affordability (or lack thereof) of medical treatment in the U.S. for gig/hospitality workers, the perils of addiction and the dealers therein, & a potential eviction. What a fertile soil for romance to bloom!
Once the (illegal & potentially immoral) arrangements have been set for our leads to wed, the film devolves into a ping pong of the multitude of issues they have brought to the table from the opening scenes. Longtime TV Director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum creates an atmosphere where romance is only derived from peril (diabetic shock, injuries sustained in war, potential imprisonment) and peril is at every turn.
At one point in the film, we are witness to the aftermath from a home invasion, a medical episode, & a street fight in back to back to back scenes. When wartime is the lesser part of the drama, you know you have a tough movie to swallow.
In the end, we have an unearned romance for two spectacularly flawed people that ends in familiar territory for most TV movie dramas.
While this may be comfort food enjoyment for some, I would hope even fans of the genre would have more discerning taste (in movies … and music).
Best Part of Purple Hearts on Netflix
In order to defend his wife, her family, & his own dignity, a hobbling Luke beats the crap out of his former drug dealer/loan shark in a parking garage, including hitting him with his cane & disassembling a gun like he’s Jason Bourne! Combat training did him well!
Best Quote from Purple Hearts
“So we’re good enough to fight for your ass, but not good enough to touch it?” – Armando
Ooooooof. That character was full of out-of-line/out-of-touch lines like that throughout the movie.
Purple Hearts Trivia
Four original songs for the film were written by Sofia Carson & Justin Tranter, the songwriter behind hits for Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, & Selena Gomez.
MVP of the Movie
Chosen Jacobs (IT: Chapters 1 & 2, “Hawaii Five-O”) as Frankie.
One of the only characters that doesn’t speak in 24 news cycle talking points throughout the film, Frankie is a stand-up friend to both Cassie and Luke and a breath of fresh air in the early parts of the film. While his character’s arc may not end the optimal way, his presence brings out the best in everyone else around him and doesn’t play into toxic stereotypes.
Watch Purple Hearts on Netflix if you like
- Dear John
- Lifetime Original Dramas
- Country Strong
- Operation: Christmas Drop,
- Feel The Beat
- Coyote Ugly
PLAY, PAUSE, OR STOP?
I have no problem with romance or dramas surrounding the military (Top Gun: Maverick! A Few Good Men! An Officer and a Gentleman!), but this one isn’t worth it.
Did you like Purple Hearts on Netflix? Let us know in the comments down below.