The trailer for ‘Purple Hearts’ looked pretty formulaic, reminding some of us of the 2016 film ‘Dear John’, which isn’t necessarily a great thing. So, I streamed the 2022 film with little expectations, but was a sniffling mess by the climax. Yes, it’s predictable, but a predictably engaging romantic movie till the very end.

Directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, ‘Purple Hearts’ follows the story of U.S Marine Luke (Nicholas Galitzine) and struggling musician Cassie (Sofia Carson) who marry each other for the perks Marines get when they tie the knot – Cassie needs health insurance and Luke wants money to pay off his debts. The two don’t like each other at all and need to pretend to be a happily in love, but an unexpected tragedy complicates their plan.

The story strikes an interesting balance between Cassie’s musical journey and Luke’s combat life, their two very different worlds collide in ways they couldn’t predict. Galitzine’s Luke is more likable of the two, probably because he is a lot more friendly in his introductory scene, unlike the angst-y Cassie who is prejudiced against Marines. Sofia Carson on the other hand shines best in her singing, her character is unwittingly inspired by Luke, so the movie has a few original songs that play a crucial role in carrying the plot forward. The track “Come Back Home”, a song dedicated to those serving in the war, is the most poignant number and plays more than once in the film.

Ironically, there isn’t as much romance as one would expect. The lead actors look great together, but their characters have very little in common. But since they are two very attractive looking people, it’s quite easy to be drawn to each other. It didn’t even strike me that Galitzine played the Prince in Disney’s 2021 Cinderella reboot, since the entire production was so mediocre and forgettable; he makes a more lasting impression in Purple Hearts, the kind that makes you go “ah, he could be the next big romantic lead in Hollywood”. Chosen Jacobs plays Frankie, a common close friend who accidentally becomes match-maker between the lead pair. Despite a very small cameo, he is quite endearing. Everybody else in the supporting cast too have very fleeting roles, so there’s not much to critique.

The climax was on predictable lines, but what’s a romantic drama without the climactic conflict and a sweeping grand gesture sealed with a kiss in the end?

It’s a 7/10 from me. You can stream it on Netflix.

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