The Netflix hit movie “Purple Hearts” has riled up a lot of emotions, opinions and laughs. Viewers stand divided about the flick, and many have incredibly strong opinions, especially those in the military community.
As a military spouse who loves to share her opinion, I have plenty to say. But instead of just liberally tossing around my thoughts — like the concerning amount of popcorn I consumed while watching this tale of military-fraud-turned-love-story. — I decided to create a list of what would be different about this film if the big-wigs at Netflix had consulted a military spouse while making it.
- The local Marine dive bar would have a lot more battle-hardened bartenders than the children who appeared to be running the show at the bar featured outside Pendleton. The median age at this bar looked to be about 12. OK, maybe more like 20. Anyone who knows anything about military dive bars knows there’s a 60-year-old veteran or an ex-spouse named Betty in charge of things. And let’s be honest, no shenanigans would happen on their watch because they have every staff duty number on speed dial. Instead, this watering hole was run by a 25-year-old hipster (Cassie) sporting a “daddy” necklace. The place would burn down faster than the movie’s cover of “Sweet Caroline.” Nope.
- The fake marriage plan would need to make more sense. Because the one in this movie’s plot did not. Her side of the story was pretty solid. Cassie needed expensive insulin to treat her diabetes, and TRICARE can be awesome … sometimes. That checks out. But the Marine (Luke Morrow) was going to use the bump in BAH to pay off his drug dealer to the tune of $15,000. Now I don’t know what kind of BAH you Marine families are getting … but here in Army world, it’s going to take a very long time before you muster up $15,000 just from the addition of a dependent. And this guy’s debt problems seemed pretty time-sensitive. The dude coming after him for cash seems like a pretty bad guy. Not to mention once Luke he got home from deployment, he would need to use that money to … you know … pay for a place to live since the barracks are no longer an option for our out-of-regs haired Romeo.
- They would get married, and no one would care –– happily ever after for everyone. It’s a military tale as old as time. She needs insurance, and he needs to not live on top of staff duty. They’ve known each other a week; they get married and ride off into the sunset with a brand new Ford F-150 with a 32% APR. I understand that them getting hitched for financial reasons is fraud, and he could technically get in trouble for it. But I’m here to tell you that literally no one in the military cares about some newly-enlisted Marine’s personal life (unless he’s already in trouble for 1,000 other things). And the fact that his dad is a retired MP means absolutely nothing. Chill.
- If a military spouse was advising on this movie, it would be longer than the unedited version of “Lord of the Rings.” Anyone who has ever dealt with DEERS (bless you) in any fashion knows that the military moves slower than molasses and would be personally offended at how fast “Little Miss Insurance Fraud” received her dependent ID card. Did she even get personally bullied on the phone ONCE before being helped? And when the Channing Tatum lookalike in the film (Luke-the-Marine) was court-martialed, I have never seen anything in the military move so fast. He must have annoyed the wrong people because they wanted him in the brig and wanted him there, ASAP. And the fact that the one whistleblower who turned Luke in was a random drug dealer with no connection to the military –– also super suspicious. Who exactly did he call? They just took his word for it? Weird.
- On a more serious note, some of the dialogue was incredibly offensive and degrading to military service members. No one says things like “hunting down Arabs.” Just … no.
- Did you notice? Our brand new military spouse didn’t attend a single Scentsy or Monat party. Wasn’t she hurting for cash? Military spouses would be all over her to sign her up to be on their “team.” I should call the MPs immediately because the absence of MLMs in this movie is a huge red flag.
- And finally, if I were personally in charge of making this movie, I would fire the costume advisor/hair and makeup team. Who told actress Sophia Carson (Cassie) it was OK to tuck her hair into a turtleneck?! That is a real crime, and I demand justice. Thank you.
If I had the time and energy to write a novel, I would. Instead, I will leave you, dear readers, with a few more questions to ask yourselves about “Purple Hearts,” such as: “Why are the buses transporting the Marines back? And how are the family members so close to said buses? Where was the formation? Why didn’t Cassie buy or rent a more sensible and affordable apartment away from the ocean if money was so tight? That was for sure a $500,000 apartment. Why did the Rear D guy call from Germany when he was very obviously in California, as he was the Rear D? Also, why did this war zone have nicer computers than a Best Buy?”
And most importantly …. “Was watching ‘Purple Hearts’ worth two hours and 20 minutes of my life?”
After much contemplation, I believe it was. Because at the end of the day while our collective talent might not be advising Netflix movies, military spouses sure are good at finding the humor in our crazy lives –– and the way people perceive it. Thanks for the laughs!