The Ultimate Guide on How to Fake a Marriage For All the Wrong Reasons

New Netflix original “Purple Hearts” tugs on heartstrings with pro-militarization propaganda and poverty


Lina McDonald, Copy Editor

At first glance, the Netflix original movie “Purple Hearts” seems like any other romantic drama: chock-full of bad innuendos and he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not moments. The film even features an original heartwarming ballad—”Come Back Home”—performed by the main character after she realizes her affection for her husband. However, this is not your quintessential romance. Neither is it a story about a happy couple practically bursting with affection for one another. Instead, the 2022 film glorifies a staunch pro-military attitude while painting a lack of adequate healthcare in a rosy light. 

“Purple Hearts” stars Sofia Carson as Cassie, a cynic, diabetic and struggling artist who supports herself by performing self-produced songs at a bar visited predominantly by Marines. There, she meets newly-minted corporal Luke Morrow. Boisterous and loud, he is the polar opposite of Cassie—a difference which is especially clear in their opposing political views. While Cassie is a stern liberal and believer in acceptance for all, Luke takes on a more right-wing stance, even venturing as far as to condemn Cassie’s mother, a Mexican immigrant. Disgusted by his blatant racism and misogynistic ideas, Cassie initially (and understandably) rolls her eyes at his flirting. 

However, Cassie soon becomes face-to-face with a hard truth: her insurance will no longer cover the insulin injections her diabetes requires. Strapped for cash, she reaches out to Luke with a proposal: a strictly businesslike marriage between the two of them. Military spouses receive a large monthly sum, which Cassie and Luke decide to split. Yet, the catch is that they must act absolutely smitten with one another, as marrying for the benefits is strictly forbidden. Despite the risks, the pair decide to tie the knot—the day before Luke departs on his mission in Iraq.

Although it seems at first that Luke and Cassie will never see eye-to-eye, their relationship blossoms with Luke’s absence, causing them both to eventually realize their true romantic feelings. The film’s storyline closes with Cassie’s profession of her love—finally, the newlyweds don’t have to pretend anymore. 

The film’s release this July sparked a cascade of disparaging comments by critics. Although the couple’s “unconventional” love story is painted as endearing, the truth behind their match is clear: Cassie has no option but to marry a man she could not stand if she wants to afford the medications she needs to survive. Harsh reality becomes obvious as their opposing personalities clash—after all, not every match is meant to be.