‘Purple Hearts’ Star, Director Defend Netflix Movie in Face of Criticism

by Taylor Cunningham

Netflix’s new movie Purple Hearts has been making headlines since its premiere, and not for good reasons. While the movie has been an overall hit, the plot and characters have sparked some political controversy.

The story follows the lives of Cassie and Luke, an unlikely couple brought together by necessity, not love. Cassie is a liberal songwriter battling type 2 diabetes. And she can’t afford insurance. Luke is a conservative and disenchanted Marine who has military benefits to offer. So they get married. While their marriage starts out volatile, they eventually fall in love, despite their overwhelming differences.

Purple Hearts premiered on July 29th. And after only two weeks, it had already billed over 100 million streaming hours. But after watching, thousands of people took to social media to air grievances about racism, misogyny, and blatant military propaganda.

Earlier this week, the film’s star Sofia Carson and director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum finally spoke out about the backlash. And while they were sensitive to people’s concerns, they said that those same people may have overlooked the story’s overall meaning.

‘Purple Hearts’ Director Created ‘Flawed Characters’ to Make a Point

Rosenbaum explained that she intentionally created a movie with extremely flawed characters, which gives them traits that fans disapprove of. Cassie and Luke were raised to “hate each other,” and she wanted to showcase a clear and obvious juxtaposition between the two.

But both of them had been “neglected by the system,” and that pain brings them together. By living under the same roof, they’re forced to listen to each other and become more “moderate” and accepting of their beliefs.

“I do hope that anyone who’s in any way insulted by it understands that our intentions are very pure,” she told Variety. “And it’s because we feel like people need to grow and need to start to become more moderate.”

Carson shared a similar sentiment. The actress admitted that she was drawn to the story because of its message.

“It’s two hearts, one red, one blue, two worlds apart, who are really raised to hate each other,” she began. “Through the power of love, they learn to lead with empathy and compassion and love each other and turn into this beautiful shade of purple.”

She continued by saying the creators intentionally wrote the two characters to be extreme and staunch in completely opposite ways. That way, their love story would truly represent the current polarized society.

“We wanted to represent both sides as accurately as possible,” she continued. “What I think I’ve learned to do as an artist is separate myself from all of that and just listen to what the world is feeling and reacting to with the film. That has been so beautifully overwhelming and so many people have felt seen or are comforted by this movie. That’s all we could want filmmakers and as artists.”

Purple Hearts is currently streaming for Netflix subscribers.