“Purple Hearts”: the worst enemies to lovers has to offer.


Cinematographer Matt Sakatani Roe

The love interests, singer Cassie (Left), and marine Luke (Right).

Sophia Prichard, Sr. Editor

Darcy and Elizabeth, Heathcliff and Catherine, Kate and Anthony. Enemies to lovers, the trope that captured the hearts of millions. It can be simplified to the enjoyment of passion between two people, before the two characters eventually see that their differences are trivial compared to the similarities between them. For example, in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Darcy seem to hate each other before understanding that their reasons for their hatred are the titular pride and prejudice, but in reality they carry similar values and interests. Both value the happiness of their siblings and the appreciation for knowledge and art. The differences between the characters in enemies to lovers plot-lines are almost always smaller than their passion and hatred, not as important enough to actually stay enemies over.

Purple Hearts did not get the memo. The 2022 romance film missed the point of the classic trope, as the main dilemma between its protagonists? Political ideologies and basic philosophies. The core value systems between the two characters are inherently contradictory. Cassie (Sofia Carson, Descendants), the female lead, is a type one diabetic who can no longer afford her insulin. Because of this, she and her love interest, Luke (Nicholas Galitzine, Cinderella 2021) get married. Luke is a marine, about to be deployed to the Middle East, which helpfully means that they don’t have to actually be in love. The biggest problem between these characters? Luke is a conservative guy that doesn’t believe in free healthcare, which if Cassie had, they wouldn’t have ever needed to get married. 

As anyone who has seen a romance movie once in their life knows, the plot then conveniently puts the two characters in “romantic” moments that only really work in Hallmark movies. (Here’s looking at you, an awkward dinner scene where a racist statement is played for laughs but our male lead gets redemption because he’s not like other guys.) I’m not entirely sure which Wattpad writer wrote this script, but it’s certainly not to the same caliber of the classic 2010’s Rom-coms it’s attempting to emulate. There’s hints of inspiration within the film that definitely spark memories of films like 10 Things I Hate About You or Life As We Know It, but the execution in Purple Hearts falls flat. The characters make seemingly irrational decisions, quite literally falling in love despite themselves. Everything I love about the romance genre is lacking in this film, or even worse, it’s there but has no overall effect on the film. Tropes that are usually utilized to add intrigue, like the “enemies to lovers” trope, create this dissonance in the film, this level of surrealism. I don’t believe these characters are in love, and I don’t believe that the film could work. My previously suspended disbelief plummets to the bottom of the sinking ship of Purple Hearts.

This film only adds to the growing belief that the romantic comedy genre is a dying art, since other films coming out seem to have the same issue, they lack the je nais se quoi that classic Rom-coms have. Purple Hearts, Love in the Villa, Marry Me, the list goes on, but they all lack the right chemistry or the right soundtrack or the right script. It’s desolate and depressing, as if the romance genre itself is eating itself alive. The films that made me believe in love are seemingly a thing of the past, and this rotting pit of streaming services continues to churn out misses. These movies are simply vehicles for the latest star to grapple onto, and then age like milk until it’s another forgotten has-been on the shelf that never gets watched.