As Netflix‘s Purple Hearts gets criticized by many for being military propaganda and having racist and misogynistic themes, star Sofia Carson is defending it.
The star of the film and its director, Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, have spoken in defense of the film after this criticism.
The Carson and Nicholas Galitzine-led drama centers on a liberal singer who settles down to wed a Marine in order to obtain health insurance.
Criticism from fans includes perceived sexist and racial overtones.
As Variety reports, in the film, a marine says, “This one is to life, love, and hunting down some godd**n Arabs, baby!” during a scene. Carson’s character, Cassie, calls him out but Galitzine’s Luke dismisses the concern. Cassie also begins to have no issues about Luke’s conservative ideals.
Rosenbaum has responded to the negative criticism while focusing on the more positive reception.
“I hope that people understand that in order for characters to grow, they need to be flawed in the beginning. So we very much intentionally created two characters that had been bred to hate each other,” she told Variety. “They are flawed at the beginning and that was intentional. In order for the red heart and the blue heart to kind of turn purple, you have to have them be kind of extreme. Some of the people that they’re surrounded with are even more flawed than they are. They both have been neglected by the system; he’s hurt in a war that doesn’t seem to be ending and she’s slipping through the cracks of the healthcare system. So they’re both neglected by the system, and then they live under one roof, and in these extreme circumstances, they learn to become more moderate and to listen to each other and to love.”
She continued by stating that the nation is currently "very flawed," which was the point of the movie.
The movie has faced backlash because of the message Rosenbaum cites as the movie’s core message, the idea of an extremity on both sides of the political spectrum. Many critics of the film have pointed out this idea isn’t new and can be seen as a false equivalence when one character in the movie wants healthcare and is generally a good person, and the other is portrayed over and over as racist and sexist, and their beliefs are seen as equally valid.
Carson also executive produced the film.
In response to the criticism, the actress said, “Why I fell in love with the movie is that it’s a love story but it’s so much more than that. It’s two hearts, one red, one blue, two worlds apart, who are really raised to hate each other. Through the power of love, they learn to lead with empathy and compassion and love each other and turn into this beautiful shade of purple. We wanted to represent both sides as accurately as possible. What I think I’ve learned to do as an artist is separate myself from all of that and just listen to what the world is feeling and reacting to with the film. That has been so beautifully overwhelming and so many people have felt seen or are comforted by this movie. That’s all we could want filmmakers and as artists.”