Purple Hearts is the new No.1 movie on Netflix — but critics and viewers are divided

Nicholas Galitzine as Luke and Sofia Carson as Cassie in Purple Hearts on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix continues to pump out films to fill our summer nights. But unlike the previous chart-topper on the service, the action-packed flick The Gray Man, this latest No.1 film sees Netflix slow the pace and take a more romantic angle.   

Purple Hearts was released last Friday (July 29) and has commanded the attention of critics and viewers alike since. However, that’s not to say it's gone down equally well with both audiences — in fact, far from it.

What is Purple Hearts about?  

The 2022 Purple Hearts is not the first film with this name; there was another Purple Hearts film released back in 1984. But though that also concerned a romantic situation during wartime, the Netflix movie is not a remake.

Directed by Ben Lewin and Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, the latest Purple Hearts follows Cassie (Sophia Carson), a struggling singer-songwriter working nights in a bar to keep up with her medical debts after being diagnosed with diabetes. With her financial situation getting ever worse, she realizes she can falsely marry a Marine to take advantage of government benefits. Enter Luke (Nicholas Galitzine), who agrees to the arrangement due to his own troubled past.

Once the two are married, Luke ships out and we follow their relationship as it inevitably grows to become something more than either intended. However, as the name of this flick suggests, the plot is not without tragedy — so you'd best prepare for tears. 

What do critics say about Purple Hearts? 

As mentioned earlier, critics have not been as kind to this film as general viewers: the professionals have scored it a lackluster 30% on Rotten Tomatoes, while its audience score sits at a much more impressive 85%.   

So what do critics not like about it? Well, Claire Shaffer of The New York Times was unhappy with both the plot and the standard of acting from the leads, stating that “The film wallows in contrived plots and subplots, made worse by the dearth of chemistry between the two leads.” 

Similarly, Luke Y. Thompson of AV Club points out that “both Carson and Galitzine are beautiful people — presumably one of the film’s primary draws — but their love scenes convey neither heat nor emotional substance, and consequently aren’t much fun to watch.”

Sofia Carson as Cassie and Nicholas Galitzine as Luke in Purple Hearts on Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

On the other hand, some critics could see what the film was trying to achieve, but felt that it went too far in its endeavours to inspire emotion. Ferdosa Abdi of Screen Rant argues, “It is easy to see the potential, but Purple Hearts leans into over-sentimentality, with narrative tricks designed to trigger tears & subdue thinking.” 

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Jordan Lyon of Ready Steady Cut points out the importance and relevance of the issues this film highlights. “The nice part of Purple Hearts is that it moves away from the cheesiness of other romance films. Instead, it brings some real-life issues and blends them into the neat little story that Purple Hearts tells its audience in just over two hours.”

Should you stream Purple Hearts? 

Sofia Carson as Cassie in Purple Hearts on Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a split between what critics and viewers think of a film, particularly when it comes to Netflix. However, judging by its new No.1 position, it seems no amount of damning reviews can restrain viewers from watching Purple Hearts. 

The film showcases relevant and realistic issues that everyday people can relate to. But with tragedy and romance thrown in, it promises a rollercoaster of emotion all the way through. It may not provide the Romeo and Juliet of chemistry you’re hoping for, but at the very least, it should hold your attention for two hours. 

Netflix has been a little hit and miss with its recent movie releases (to say the least), but it seems like Purple Hearts has given viewers something they want. That's enough to secure the top spot today, but don't expect it to stay there for very long. In the meantime, check out our list of the best Netflix movies for more suggestions.

Next: These are the 5 Netflix movies to watch before they leave in August 2022. How to watch They/Them online, and Predator fans will circle the Prey release date and time on their calendars.

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.