The latest romantic musical drama film, Purple Hearts, based on the popular novel of the same name by author Tess Wakefield, released recently on Netflix. Filmed in California, the easily entertaining movie about an unconventional love story, stars Sofia Carson as Cassie Salazar and Nicholas Galitzine as Luke Morrow.

The story follows Cassie, a struggling singer-songwriter, who works as a waitress, desperately needing medicine, but without health insurance, she is in crisis, but when she learns that military benefits are given to military personnel and their families, and this includes health insurance, she asks her friend Frankie Mubuthia, played by Chosen Jacobs, to marry her. He refuses, but his colleague, Luke, a US Marine Lance Corporal, offers to help. Luke, a man with a troubled past, has his own reasons for accepting to get married. The unconventional marriage for insurance and financial benefits, is against the law, but they decide to take the risk, with him soon to deployed overseas.

Things take a sudden turn, when tragedy strikes, and what was initially planned as a pretend marriage, turns into something more real as the two start to fall in love, regardless of the obstacles around them.

The film also stars John Harlan Kim as Toby, Loren Escandon as Marisol Salazar, Linden Ashby as Jocob Morrow, Nicholas Duvernay as Armando, Anthony Ippolito as Johnno Deluca, and Kat Cunning as Nora, among others.

The film is fast paced at times, with Cassie marrying a guy she just met and hardly knows, even if it is only a fake marriage, because she needs lifesaving insulin, and instead of finding any other assistance, decides to get married for health insurance.

The film’s title has been recognisable for many, given that it is similar to Purple Heart (PH), which is a Badge of Military Merit, which is a decoration awarded in the United States, in the name of the President, that is given to those who are killed or wounded while actively serving, and PH is mentioned in the story. While others looking for the film have found Purple Heart (2006), which is a completely different action-war film starring William Sadler, Mel Harris, and Emilio Rivera.

The 122-minute film, created for Netflix by director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, was made together with producers Leslie Morgenstein, Amy Baer, and Elysa Koplovitz Dutton, working in collaboration with production companies Netflix, Embankment Films and Alloy Entertainment. Distribution proved to be a success on Netflix, with the film instantly trending and easily becoming a Netflix Global Top 10, after the film reached 48 million watch hours within the first week, and by week two Purple Hearts had been viewed for over 102 million hours.

Rated 30 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, a similar 30 per cent on Metacritic and a hopeful 6.8/10 on IMDb, the unconventional romance with impressive watch hours, has received mostly unfavourable critic, with many calling out the film’s racist language. This came after the film’s dialogue stirred controversy for a specific component in the film, where Luke’s colleague makes a racially offensive toast, which Cassie stands up and objects to, but Luke actively defends his friend and asks her to sit down. This entire component in the film has critics in shock, and as a result, the film’s director had to speak out, with her saying “I hope that people understand that in order for characters to grow, they need to be flawed in the beginning.” Her statement to justify the use of racism as an acceptable casual plot character development feature, has resulted in more backlash.

The film features several soundtracks which are currently trending, with the single ‘Come Back Home’ by the film’s lead, Sofia Carson, becoming a fan favourite on Spotify and Apple Music.

Purple Hearts is a simple film that many will enjoy for its romance elements, which feature two completely different characters, who find the line between a fake relationship and a real one naturally fading away. This is a film that those who enjoy a romantic movie will appreciate, even though certain components

By Nirupa Mohan Dore