Despite eventually falling in love during their scam marriage in Netflix’s Purple Hearts, it’s impossible to believe that Cassie and Luke’s union would stand the test of time. Purple Hearts capitalizes on the “opposites attract” trope, easily establishing two people with different worldviews and bringing them together by mutual desperation. The film attempts to portray a modern love story overcoming life’s obstacles yet comes off as a romanticized and unrealistic take on how actual relationships endure.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Aspiring singer-songwriter Cassie Salazar (Sofia Carson) marries U.S. Marine trainee Luke Morrow (Nicholas Galitzine) in a shotgun wedding as part of their deal to split military spousal benefits to solve their individual life-threatening problems: Cassie has diabetes and requires access to consistent healthcare while Luke owes his old drug dealer Johnno (Anthony Ippolito) money. Regardless of the stark personality contrast (a no-nonsense feminist and a traditional idealistic military man) contributing to their general dislike for each other, Purple Hearts’ characters Cassie and Luke agree to this mutually beneficial arrangement with the only expectation of maintaining a long-distance pseudo-relationship to not raise suspicion about the motivation of their nuptials. Yet things took a turn when Luke is injured in Iraq, causing him to be shipped back to the States to the arms of his “loving” wife. Ultimately, Cassie and Luke’s secret is revealed with dire legal consequences awaiting them.
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While Cassie and Luke are both guilty of a sham marriage, Luke makes the crucial decision of sacrificing his career to guarantee that Cassie walks home free. This grand gesture makes Purple Hearts’ love story believable but doesn’t really equate to Cassie and Luke’s “real” marriage's longevity. Prior to their agreement, Cassie and Luke were always at odds with each other, alluding to the difference between love and compatibility. Grand, romantic gestures are great, but they're not what build a lasting marriage.
Purple Hearts' Cassie & Luke Are Too Incompatible
Every interaction between Cassie and Luke in Netflix's Purple Hearts foreshadows the doom of their “real” marriage. Upon their first encounter, Cassie already presents a prejudice against Marines through her previous experience of being objectified as a pretty bartender by them. After Luke’s comrade fires an inappropriate comment at Cassie, Luke defends him by talking her up but ends up offending her. This bad impression further ignites animosity when Cassie asks Frankie (Chosen Jacobs) – Cassie's friend and Marine trainee – to marry her in order to gain free healthcare. Luke, overhearing the conversation, quickly condemns Cassie for “trying to rip off the government,” triggering a well-deserved tirade. Personalities are hallmarks of future behavior; even when Cassie and Luke have grown a respectful understanding of each other, it doesn’t change who they are and what they stand for.
What’s more, pretending to be loved-up may have prompted a mistranslation of feelings. With the heightened pressure of Jacob Morrow Sr.'s (played by Linden Ashby, Noah Stilinski in Teen Wolf: The Movie) skepticism on their relationship, Cassie may have internalized her role so well that discerning compassion from affection proves a challenge. The bathtub scene shows Cassie giving Luke a bath, which may be viewed as a romantic moment but given Luke’s injury, the act may have been done out of pity rather than love.
Admittedly, Cassie and Luke are an attractive couple with undeniable on-screen chemistry. However, a "real" and enduring marriage isn't solely reliant on love, especially one that stems from duress. Purple Hearts' beach montage ending of Cassie, Luke, and Peaches (their Golden Retriever) is a picturesque representation of passion riled up by six-month-long anticipation. However, Cassie and Luke's marriage constitutes two unlike-minded lovers riddled with desire simply playing house until divorce is served at the dinner table.