Looking for a drama film that will send you grabbing that box of tissues? Then Netflix’s Purple Hearts may be the film that you need. Or maybe not. We were intrigued by the initial premise of the film as suggested by the trailer that’s why we decided to check out Purple Hearts and review it here at This Is Hype Ph.
Purple Hearts Review: An Overview
Purple Hearts follows Cassie Salazar, an outspoken aspiring song-writer with severe diabetes, who stumbles upon a Marine by the name of Luke Morrow who is to be deployed to Iraq pretty soon. Their first encounter doesn’t go so well as Cassie boldly professes her distaste for the military and the government who as she views it, are the very problems of a corrupt system that prioritizes the wealthy and undermines the weak and the helpless. Cassie, however, in dire need of financial assistance, desperately puts all her hate towards Luke and all that he stands for aside to marry him with the goal of benefitting from his health insurance. Luke, who has problems of his own reluctantly agrees despite the two knowing the dangers of this agreement and that it possibly could lead to them ending up imprisoned by the United States government for fraud. The deal isn’t as simple as it seems as true affection and love begin to brew between the two.
The film stars Sophia Carson and Nicholas Galitzine amongst other cast members and is directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum (Ramona and Beezus, Careful What You Wish For). The film is based upon the novel of the same name by Tess Wakefield which was released in 2017.
Purple Hearts Review: Spoiler Warnings
We will keep this review of Purple Hearts free from spoilers as we focus on the romantic elements; the characterization and acting of the principal cast; and finally the film’s themes and overall premise.
Social And Political Commentary
Purple Hearts goes beyond being just your run-of-the-mill drama film. It actually has a very deep and profound nature as a magnification of the truth behind the social and political issues in the United States. Some of the issues that it does tackle include the faulty health care system, immigrant workers, and misogynistic ideals. Therefore beyond being just another dramatic plot about two people with opposing views who find love in the process, Purple Hearts actually has a very profound depth to its story. There’s also a great handle on grief and the adversities that various people face which make the movie not only engaging but also so relatable.
These elements elevate Purple Hearts into a film that is filled with substance. It’s not your typical tragic Nicholas Sparks love story that makes Purple Hearts so entertaining but the fact that there is a pretty good story that takes place one that revolves around the humanity of these people in focus. Such humanity is seen in the depictions of death, love, and life and what’s interesting is how the film chooses to show this through the various characters and not just the duo of Carson and Galitzine. The way such issues are tackled is done with so much respect and emotionality that paves the way for the plot to really be believable yet entertaining at the same time. This allows a hard-hitting message on equality and justice to prevail despite still being a film whose main goal is the romantic relationship that brews between Cassie and Luke.
The way the film also chooses to showcase the romance is done in a way that is somewhat poetic but simple as well. Maybe too simple to be quite honest (but let me come back to that in a bit). The title in itself is very poetic in nature and so is the execution and flow of the story. The title first and foremost is taken from the coveted military award referred to as The Purple Hearts which supposedly symbolizes bravery and courage. This suggests the military aspect of the film with Luke but it also ironically depicts a story that isn’t worth the said award but nonetheless shows the extreme lengths that Cassie and Luke would go to for love and life which in itself are very brave and courageous intentions and actions. Talk about poetic. This literary and poetic nature is even seen in the back and forth that occurs between Luke and Cassie as a soldier and a musician as well as the back and forth in their ideals, principles, and even their relationship.
The film however does tend to lean on the formulaic side of the romantic genre with moments that are meant to be tear-jerkers. We get to see a somewhat familiar story as elements such as death, sickness, arguments, sudden epiphanies, and even sacrificial types of love are shown all in one move. There is even the cliched nature of the contrasting characters who suddenly fall in the love storyline that we have seen in so many films in the past. Therefore, nothing really new is given, to be honest, but it still admittedly works in giving a very entertaining story. It does however also lack the emotional weightiness that you would come to expect from the said genre and halfway through the film’s premise there is that looming predictability factor. Again, these are present but we can somehow look past them due to the entertaining, relatable, and humanizing qualities that Luke and Cassie possess.
It Takes Two
Individually, Carson and Galitzine show why they are great at what they do. There is a presence and relatability factor that exudes naturally from the two as individuals. Carson is so believable as the woman who has a date with Death as she grapples not only with the physical toll that her sickness has on her but also with the mental and emotional draining qualities that it brings along. She is a woman that is torn into pieces because of this fact as it affects a variety of aspects of her life from the financial down to some of her key relationships. Galitzine on the other hand steps into the full-on masculine and egoistic man who also happens to have a sense of nobleness, charm, and humility. He is a full-on soldier with principles — clouded as they are at times — who is seeking ultimately redemption and a new beginning. When the two do collide there are moments when Cassie and Luke become a great contrasting match.
There are however moments as well where the chemistry isn’t fully there. There is a lack of it and the clashing nature of their personalities takes over at one point. Galitzine tends to be out of character at times when he is with Carson as he brings in too much of the stoic bravado out of Luke that at times isn’t even necessary. I honestly wished that there was more of a spark from the tandem given that this is still, by all means, a love story. Instead, the connection occurs somewhat in the end and a tad bit too late in my opinion as the two are often in a back and forth with their emotions which are already so obvious, to begin with. The realization of this also comes in with the cliched montage of their previous encounters and precious moments which was honestly a bit on the cheesy side for my taste.
Purple Hearts Review: Final Verdict
There isn’t anything new and unexpected that Purple Hearts brings to the table as it is still very predictable and formulaic as a drama film with the main cast even lacking the needed chemistry quality that is needed from such a film. The only aspect that makes Purple Hearts unexpected is the fact that it still manages to be a very entertaining film nonetheless. There is a relatability to the story and depth that enables us to put aside the faulty elements as it still is very much worth the watch. It’s actually a very refreshing drama film from Netflix, one that is actually more satisfying and worthwhile than I thought it would be.
Hype Meter: 7/10
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