'Purple Hearts', Netflix's surprise success under criticism of machismo and racism
Netflix papered cities around the world with giant canvases of its film commitment for this year. In all the places was the photo of Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas and Chris Evans with the face of few friends announcing the unseen agent, the very expensive thriller – they say it cost more than 200 million dollars – with which they wanted to blow up the viewings and the algorithm. An action movie, full of stars and with the will to start a franchise that has been overtaken by a romantic teen drama that nobody knew about, why netflix nothing was spent on publicity and which young people have raised to the category of surprise phenomenon of the year.
This is Purple Hearts, here translated as Badly Wounded Hearts, a film directed by the specialist in adolescent products Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, who had already made Sneakerella for Disney+: Cinderella in slippers, a teen and modern version of the children's story. Now it changes platforms and has managed to lead the lists of the most watched movies on Netflix. For months, the company has offered the top ten of its most viewed products, and it does so by offering viewing data in millions of hours. It was these rankings and the strong presence of the film on social networks that showed that Purple Hearts was becoming a hit without anyone expecting it.
In its first week on Netflix – from July 25 to 31 – the film achieved more than 48 million hours of viewing, some great figures. But the explosion came in its second week, a key date for any product. It was at that moment when it doubled the data and achieved 102,590,000 hours of viewing, placing itself as the most viewed film on the entire platform by far. That same date, The Invisible Agent —in its third week— was left with 38,900,000 hours. In the last ranking it has dropped to second place due to the premiere of Day Shift, another blockbuster that has had much more publicity (and budget). His victory has not been by much. Jamie Foxx's film takes gold with 56.5 million, but Purple Hearts remains in second place with 46.3.
The teen drama is poised to break into Netflix's all-time top 10 movies just three weeks after its premiere. Now it accumulates 197,190,000 million and it is almost certain that with the next data it will surpass several in the ranking (among them The Irishman by Martin Scorsese, which holds on in eighth place with 214,570,000). It could easily hit the top 5 in just a few weeks. Netflix is expected not to let go of its new goose that lays the golden eggs and start a profitable franchise.
The film tells a story that could be defined as an 'extreme center' romance. To make a comparison in our country, Purple Hearts asks if it would be possible for love to arise between a feminist, progressive and socially committed woman with a Vox soldier. This, transferred to the US, materializes in a young singer (Sofia Carson) who cannot afford her insulin for diabetes, who wears "The future is female" t-shirts, has the LGTBIQ flag on her house and fights for social justice. . He (Nicholas Galitzine), is a young ex-drug addict who enlists in the Marines and is about to go to Iraq to defend the country from him. He is chauvinistic, controlling and what he popularly calls "straight".
According to Purple Hearts, romance is possible, and in fact that title refers to the color that arises when you mix Democrat blue and Republican red. A purple heart that wants to be a hymn to understanding but ends up being a stale, old, sugary and hyperconservative romance. As much as she complains about the boy's comments in the movie, she ends up falling into his arms. The starting point, of course, is that both protagonists hate each other. In fact, they get together in a marriage of convenience so that she can get health insurance and he can get money to pay off a debt from her old life. Despite the fact that they hate each other and that everything is a pantomime, they do not avoid having sex on the first night, which they must spend together to continue with the farce, before he leaves for Iraq. An already unlikely starting point that becomes complicated when he has to return home after a tragedy on the battlefield.
The 'Prince Charming' of this film allows his friend to tell a girl that he is going to touch her ass, laughs at the macho jokes of his colleagues and makes fun of her being a "pacifist". "I guess it's our job to fight those battles for you," the film says without irony when she lays out her arguments and even goes so far as to call her "progressive freak."
The scene that has caused the most reactions against and for which Purple Hearts has been accused of "military propaganda" and "racist" by the public on social networks is the one that brings together all the marines and their partners the day before to march There, one of them toasts "to go hunt down some damn Arabs." The protagonist reproaches her for what she has said, but instead of defending her, her partner tells her, shouting in front of everyone, that she sit down. She places them both – racist military and feminist – equidistantly and hits the table so that she pays attention to him. She obeys. Then both argue, but he is allowed to have the last word saying that what his partner says "is bravado". "What would you like, if we were to teach them the pronouns? Without guys like Armando do you think this country would be safe from terrorists? You wear a t-shirt that says the future is feminist but you don't know how women live in Iraq. You live in a bubble", he blurts out minutes before they have sex for the first time.
The director herself has had to meet the criticism and has argued that "for the characters to grow they must have failures at the beginning." "They're flawed early on and that was intentional. For the red heart and blue heart to turn purple they had to be a little extreme at the start. They've both been neglected by the system; he's wounded in a war that doesn't seem to end and she's It is slipping through the cracks of the health system. So they are both abandoned by the system, they live under the same roof and, in these extreme circumstances, they learn to be more moderate, to listen to each other and love each other, "he settled.
The protagonist and producer, Sofia Carson, a former Disney girl with a legion of fans behind her, has also spoken who has said that this film shows how "through love" two people "who were raised to hate each other learn, through the power of love, to love one another with empathy and compassion. A perfect controversy for Netflix, which continues to add hours of viewing for its surprise phenomenon of the year.