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Purple Hearts review: Predictable but fairly engaging

The Netflix film based on a novel by Tess Wakefield stars Sofia Carson and Nicholas Galitzine

2.5/5rating
  • Arya Harikumar

Last Updated: 07.13 PM, Jul 29, 2022

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Purple Hearts review: Predictable but fairly engaging

Story: An aspiring singer-songwriter Cassie Salazar gets into a marriage of convenience with third-generation Marine Luke Marrow. Will love blossom between them or will Luke be court-martialed for conning the government?

Review: The chance encounter between a man and a woman begins on a rough note, but they eventually end up marrying each other for their own monetary gains. Sounds familiar? Netflix’s latest film Purple Hearts does not offer anything new in terms of a unique storyline. We have watched this story unfold on-screen several times, be it in Hollywood, Bollywood, and even in TV shows. So what sets the film apart from the rest? Although the film is filled with familiar troupes and cliches, a few good moments between the lead pair and a brilliant soundtrack make it fairly engaging.

Based on the novel of the same name by Tess Wakefield, the film revolves around Cassie Salazar, a Latina woman, and Luke Marrow, an American Marine. They first meet at the bar where Cassie works as a waitress and sometimes sings. She aspires to be a singer but is diabetic and can hardly afford her medicines. Whereas, Luke is a recovering drug addict who owes money to a dealer. They are not very fond of each other but soon realise that entering into a pretend marriage would solve their problems. By marrying Luke, Cassie would be entitled to military health insurance and the extra money would help Luke pay off his debt. But tragedy strikes when Luke is posted to Iraq.

Director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum and screenwriters Kyle Jarrow and Liz W. Garcia spends enough time establishing the personalities of the lead characters. Cassie is portrayed as a feminist who follows a ‘no-soldiers’ dating rule, owing to the misogynistic behaviour of the marines who frequent her bar. She considers marriage to be “a pointless legal arrangement that turns lovers into enemies”. Whereas, Luke comes across as a person who is proud of serving his country. In his opinion, marriage should be for love and is against the idea of a fake marriage when Cassie mentions it first. This difference in their personalities is what makes the plot interesting, at least in the beginning.

However, as the film progresses, the plot becomes more and more predictable. It relies on familiar tropes such as a troubled father-son relationship, a tragic death (we see that coming as well), the on-off romance between the lead characters, and so on. But the many subplots don’t add much to the film and the supporting characters are severely underdeveloped. The film tries to delve into more important issues such as racism, LGBTQ rights, and sexual objectification through Cassie’s character. But it's just on the surface and superficial.

Pop star Sofia Carson plays Cassie in the film. She plays her part well although the film does not offer much scope to showcase her acting prowess. And Nicholas Galitzine is perfect as the charming Luke. Their chemistry is hard to miss and is definitely the selling point of the film. Carson has sung most of the songs which she co-wrote with Justin Tranter. The film also includes covers of songs like Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond.

Verdict: Purple Hearts is certainly not among the best films to come out of Hollywood this year. It doesn’t have a fresh story and at two hours, the film feels extremely stretched. But it may strike a chord with its target audience — fans of the genre and of Carson’s.

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