Purple Hearts Parent Guide
The plot device is familiar, the acting adequate but it's the acting the sells the story.
Parent Movie Review
As the familiar playground rhyme goes, “First comes love, then comes marriage…” But what happens when the marriage is based on need and not love?
Cassie Salazar (Sofia Carson) is a bar server who writes songs in her free time and sings covers of the classics. She’s also a diabetic whose benefits don’t pay for all the insulin she needs to stay alive. Luke Morrow (Nicholas Galitzine) is a former addict who has enlisted with the Marines. He’s preparing to deploy to Iraq but he still owes his former dealer (Anthony Ippolito) a significant amount of money. If Luke doesn’t pay up, his brother’s family will suffer.
When Cassie and Luke meet through a mutual friend, they realize that marriage could solve their problems. As a military spouse, Cassie would receive generous medical benefits, and as a married man, Luke would earn a larger salary that could pay down his debts. There’s just one catch: a “fake” marriage like this constitutes fraud and prison is a potential consequence.
Determined not to get caught, Luke and Cassie do their best to play the parts of loving partners – sometimes well enough to almost fool themselves. But then, the consequences of their charade come crashing home– as does Luke’s suspicious father.
Purple Hearts follows a well-travelled path for movies about marriages of convenience, which makes an unexpected plot turn all the more welcome. (Being surprised in a romantic drama is a fairly unusual experience for me.) That’s not to say this is great cinema, but it does mean that I wasn’t bludgeoned into unconsciousness by heavy-handed movie clichés. The script is adequate but it’s the acting that really sells the story. Sofia Carson is wounded and ambitious and her simmering hostility keeps the movie’s tension up. Nicholas Galitzine shows that he’s more than chiseled features and manages to emote more effectively than he did in last year’s Cinderella remake. The two of them have enough chemistry to make their relationship believable and enough backstory to provide credible roadblocks.
Would-be viewers will encounter a few content barriers. There’s a fairly passionate sex scene, although it’s dimly lit and there’s no explicit anatomical detail. Five dozen profanities and scenes of heavy drinking, plus some plot related violence make this an undesirable family film. Even more annoying for me was the screenwriters’ decision to add a political dimension to Luke and Cassie’s relationship. He’s a traditional kind of guy; she’s a liberal with a pride flag and a Black Lives Matter banner hanging from her balcony. Frankly, there’s enough hostility in politics and social media that I don’t really want to listen to fictional characters trade barbs about “snowflakes” and guns. I’m not sure if director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum is just trying to take easy shortcuts in character development or if she’s endeavoring to show that even Americans with opposing views can learn to respect different perspectives. If it’s the latter, I suppose I can forgive her, but I wish she’d used a lighter touch. This film isn’t going to win any medals, but at least it has heart – and in this genre, that’s usually enough.Directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum. Starring Sofia Carson, Nicholas Galitzine, and Anthony Ippolito. Running time: 122 minutes. Theatrical release July 29, 2022. Updated July 29, 2022
Watch the trailer for Purple Hearts
Rating & Content Info
Why is Purple Hearts rated TV-14? Purple Hearts is rated TV-14 by the MPAA for language and sexual content.
Violence: A man is chased by a truck. A man threatens a character’s family. A sick person collapses. A criminal pulls a gun on a main character. A Marine mentions “hunting down Arabs”. A bomb is heard exploding. A character dies off screen. A serious wound is briefly visible on screen. Men have a fistfight. A man pulls a gun on people.
Sexual Content: A woman mentions having a girlfriend. A married couple kiss passionately and remove clothing before having carefully shot sex (dim lighting and no nudity). There are several scenes of a man and woman kissing. A man is seen from the chest up in a bathtub while a woman gives him a sponge bath.
Profanity: There are over five dozen profanities in the script, including 21 terms of deity, a half dozen crude anatomical terms, and 16 scatological curses. There are two sexual expletives and a sexual hand gesture. In addition there are likely two dozen minor profanities – many are in song lyrics and are difficult to count accurately. A crude term for women is also used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A diabetic injects herself with insulin. A band performs in a bar where patrons drink alcohol. There’s reference to a character’s past drug use. People drink alcohol at a party. Adults celebrate by getting drunk.
Page last updated July 29, 2022
Purple Hearts Parents' Guide
Cassie and Luke marry each other out of desperation, even though they know they are breaking the law. Do you think either of their reasons justify committing fraud? Do you think breaking the law is ever acceptable?
The price of drugs – and specifically insulin – is controversial. What do you think can be done to make insulin affordable for diabetics who can’t live without it?
Mayo Clinic Proceedings: The High Cost of Insulin in the United States: An Urgent Call to Action
World Population Review: Cost of Insulin by Country 2022
Endocrine Society: Increasing Insulin Affordability
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