Passion over politics

Netflix’s ‘Purple Hearts’ explores the line between love and politics

Laynie Clark, Managing Editor

“You know you can let a guy help you and still be a feminist?”

Falling in love — can you do it with someone who is politically different? A question asked by many but answered by few. We are rarely shown a couple that sustains a happy relationship while standing on different sides of the political spectrum. I — like many — find it almost impossible. 

“Purple Hearts” is a lovesick film  based on the novel by Tess Wakefield  with an underlying tone of political discourse. The fiery feminist, Cassie Salazar, played by Sofia Carson, is an aspiring musician with forthright thoughts and views that lean to the liberal side of things. Nicholas Galitzine, on the other hand, plays a Marine soldier named Luke who is preparing to deploy to Iraq with his fellow conservative soldiers. The two meet and are immediately at odds with one another until their poor financial situations bring them together in a substandard way. As the film progresses, Cassie and Luke are seen navigating this new relationship all while dealing with issues of their own: him being a recovering addict drowning in debt and her having Type 1 diabetes. 

Director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum perfectly portrays the juxtaposition of the political standpoints through the presence of different flags hanging from Cassie’s balcony. The beginning of the film shows the Pride Flag and the Black Lives Matter Flag, but halfway through the film, Cassie hangs an American Flag next to both of them — symbolizing the blending of perspectives. As more symbols arise, we see Cassie begin to understand Luke politically, but what about the other way around?

The film has received a mix of adoration and backlash from its viewers. While some are able to ignore the political differences and just bask in the aura of romance, others are dumbfounded by the blatant lack of awareness in Luke. Not once does Luke make an effort to understand Cassie. Instead, he just gets angry and waits for Cassie to conform to his norms — similar to every other toxic relationship. The political blending is very one-sided, which makes you wonder if every politically divided relationship is the same: with one person sacrificing more than the other. 

So I ask again: Falling in love — can you do it with someone who is politically different? Maybe your answer is different after watching this movie, maybe it’s not. Either way, at least you got to witness a predictable modern love story. 

“Purple Hearts” is now streaming on Netflix.