Real-life military spouses reveal if Netflix’s Purple Hearts movie is an accurate depiction of what it’s like to see one’s partner deployed.
Real-life military spouses respond to the new Netflix romance film Purple Hearts. Purple Hearts is directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, who helmed films such as Aquamarine and Ramona and Beezus, as well as her fair share of works within the TV world including two episodes of Dead to Me in 2020. Purple Hearts stars Sofia Carson of The Descendants series and Nicholas Galitzine, who will soon star as Prince Henry in the upcoming Red, White & Royal Blue film adaptation.
While a romance drama, Purple Hearts does not have the most conventional of plots. Instead of being bonded by a sweeping love affair, its two leads are drawn to marriage not by their undying affection, but for the draw of military benefits. In Purple Hearts, Cassie, played by Carson, is a singer-songwriter struggling to make her way, and her counterpart, Luke, is a Marine. The two agree to marry solely for military benefits, but that platonic line becomes murky when tragedy strikes. So far, the Netflix film has received largely negative reviews from critics.
According to an article from Today, several real-life military spouses were disappointed in Purple Hearts because of feelings that it glamorized their experience. Military spouse Emma Tighe wrote a Facebook post slamming the movie’s poster, which shows the two lead characters saying goodbye in a romantic moment, as unrealistic. She went on to paint a picture of various scenarios that could happen when a spouse goes through the heartbreak of sending their partner off to war. Tighe’s post spurred commentary from other military spouses. Check out Tighe’s post below:
After seeing the full movie, Tighe explained:
I did not feel like [Purple Hearts] embodies the military spouse experience, but to be fair, that’s not what the story is about. It’s good for what it is, a chick flick, but I won’t be recommending it.
Maxine Clegg, a military spouse from Texas, commented:
It’s almost like your marriage deactivates two days before they deploy. They spend those few days before they leave packing and going through their checklists, and you’re not on that. It’s a whole thing.
Bailey Cummins, another military spouse who is currently living with her family in Germany, offered a different opinion:
Every military spouse is different so their experiences will be different, too. The really sad reality is many spouses do marry for benefits — maybe not a contract marriage like in the movie, but choosing to marry someone they have a connection with faster than normal because of things like needing health insurance or wanting to live together but the soldier is enlisted and can’t move out of the barracks unless married.
These responses demonstrate that the experience of a military spouse is a nuanced and multi-faceted one. While, like Cummins says, “every military spouse is different,” it seems clear from the overwhelming criticism that Purple Hearts does not represent how many military spouses experience their partners’ deployments. Cassie is dolled up when she sends Luke off to combat, with perfect hair and makeup. Even if some military spouses do experience it this way, many do not have the wherewithal to get dressed up for such a heartbreaking occasion.
With this response, it looks like Purple Hearts may not be resonating with either critics or those who could theoretically relate to it a bit more. It is surprising that Purple Hearts is so glaringly inaccurate in this regard. One would think that military spouses might be a target audience for one niche of this film, given the emphasis of the plot. With the backlash, it’s possible military spouses were not consulted, or at least not surveyed more broadly in the writing and filming process for Purple Hearts. Perhaps this response can act as a lesson for future filmmakers working on military-related projects and encourage them to consult more members of the relevant community.
More: Purple Hearts Ending Explained (In Detail)
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