‘Purple Hearts’ Ending, Explained: Do Cassie And Luke Get To Unite In Love?


The romantic drama film “Purple Hearts” is your typical opposites-attract kind of tale, starring Sofia Carson as a liberal-minded singer and writer opposite Nicholas Galitzine’s patriotic Marine. The film tells the story of how these two opposite-minded characters fake a marriage only to receive government aid and then ultimately fall in love after all. There is hardly anything to watch in “Purple Hearts,” anything new at least, other than the overall shine that Netflix has put in for this seemingly big-budget project.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Purple Hearts’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Cassie is a young woman living by herself in a small rented apartment and working at a bar as a server while also performing song covers with her band there. She keeps fairly up to date with social awareness and progressiveness as a rainbow flag, and a BLM flag hangs from her apartment’s balcony. Cassie, however, also suffers from type 1 diabetes and has been struggling to keep up with the high cost of her insulin medications. Despite having her mother willing to find some way to help her daughter, Cassie insists that she will do just fine by herself, saying that she really wants to be independent while also knowing that her mother is not in the best of financial situations. Performing and working at the bar one day, Cassie comes across a group of newly-recruited US Marines, among whom is also the woman’s childhood friend Frankie. As the two catch up, the other young men in the group try to flirt with Cassie and her friend, much to their irritation, as the men are extremely misogynistic. Understandably, Cassie apparently has a no-soldier policy when it comes to dating, but she is sort of pursued by one of the Marines, a tall, well-built man named Luke. The man tries to educate Cassie on how the Marines are so important to protect the homeland and stuff like that, but Cassie is not eager to hear any of it and ignores him. However, with the growing costs of her insulin medicine and also her due apartment rent, Cassie helplessly thinks up a plan based on something that she had overheard. She approaches Frankie at his house and tells him of her plan—that they should get married to each other so that Cassie would get a monthly allowance for being a Marine-wife, and Frankie would also get extra money every month for being married. While Frankie turns down the idea simply because he already has a girlfriend he wishes to marry, Luke barges into the scene and claims that this is a fraud that would definitely be punished by the authorities and that such a scheme would be cheating the government.

Despite being such a strong patriot, though, Luke has his own troubles in life owing to his once drug-addicted lifestyle. It turns out that he still owes about fifteen thousand dollars to the local dealer, a man named Johnno, who wants all his money back before the newly recruited Marine is sent off to serve in Iraq. His family, particularly his father, has also cut ties with him because of this, and his brother refuses to help him either. Luke now pitches the same plan—that of marrying Cassie—so that he would receive extra money every month with which he would pay off his debt, and Johnno approves. Next, he tells his idea to Cassie herself, saying that he needs money but does not mention what he needs it for, and irrespective of their tremendously many differences, the woman agrees. They plan to get married before Luke is sent off, pretend to be in love through emails and video calls, and then file for divorce a year later when both of them have gathered their required amounts of money. The two soon get married, blessed by a ring that Frankie gives Cassie to keep safe for a year, and then Luke is sent off to service in Iraq. The two do pretend to be in love with each other, leaving notes via emails, but they really live their own separate lives.

How Do Incidents From The Battlefield Affect The Couple’s Relationship?

After Luke goes away, Cassie continues to try her luck with music, and now she starts to write a song of her own, which she tells her husband about. As other Marine colleagues and friends always gather around Luke when he speaks to his wife, they now request Cassie to sing the song for them, which she does a week or two later, after she is finished with it. At this time, the men and women at the military camp have a tough time fighting terrorist activities, and they are all charmed up by Cassie’s song. This song of hers soon makes its way into popularity and then becomes viral, making Cassie a celebrated name among upcoming musicians all of a sudden. As she performs with her band one night, she receives a sudden call from a USMC commander, informing her of Luke’s injury during service, which has heavily wounded his leg, and that he will soon be brought back to the country. Unable to decide what to do next, Cassie feels that she should inform his family first, and she reaches out to his brother. However, she meets with Luke’s father instead, and despite his insistence on never telling his father about their fake marriage, Cassie tells the father about his son’s health and also that they are married. The family soon goes to meet Luke in the hospital, and he faces his father’s judgment. The father had apparently been extremely tough on him when he was a child and then cut all ties due to his drug addiction. Luke had gotten himself enlisted in the Marine Corps to win his father’s respect back, but had never told him about it, and then had realized that he was not doing it for his father but rather for himself and his country. Despite being angry at Cassie for revealing their marriage to his father, Luke quickly convinces her to keep up with the pretension as his father happens to be a retired military police officer who would not think twice before pointing out his son’s false marriage if he got to know. Cassie now also learns that her friend Frankie has passed away in the same conflict that injured Luke, and they all attend the young man’s funeral.

Despite being married, Cassie and Luke had never lived together before, and they did not have much idea about what to do about it either, but when Luke’s father says that he will come to pick up his son and help him train for two days a week, it means that the couple would actually have to live with their pretended marriage as well. They move into Cassie’s apartment, as Luke really does not have a place of his own, and they decorate the house to look as if they are two happily married lovers. The father comes to visit as planned, and seems quite impressed at how they have been living, despite flinching his face when he first sees the flags at Cassie’s house, signifying her liberal beliefs. Luke’s brother and Cassie also get a dog for Luke, a good girl named Peaches, and although he is not comfortable with the idea that he needs to be helped around by a dog at first, Luke soon learns to love her. He continues to train with his father’s help, who also happened to be in the Marines and had earned a Purple Heart medal for being injured during service. Luke was also commissioned to be awarded the same medal, and his father showed a lot of support for his son. However, not all goes well though, as Luke’s ongoing treatment and also being away from active service means that he is not getting the money that he had been paying to Johnno, and the drug dealer is back asking for the money that Luke still owes him. After he initially ignores Johnno’s warnings, he receives a call on Cassie’s landline phone one evening when she is out, and upon answering, he learns that Cassie’s mother has been attacked at her house, as someone has thrown a stone through a window. Luke hurries over to the place, and so does Cassie, and the son-in-law goes inside to check the house. Although it is empty, he receives a call on his personal phone from the drug dealer, who was the one to attack the woman’s house. Returning home that night, Cassie has a tremendous drop in her sugar level, which makes her almost faint; and Luke helps her through the whole episode and admits to being scared for her. The next morning, he goes over to meet Johnno and beats him up for having attacked his family, and also gives him all the money he owes. When he returns to Cassie’s apartment, his wife tells him that her mother has once again had an intruder in her house, who now had a bloodied shirt and spoke about Luke. Cassie is terribly surprised that her husband does not ask who this intruder is, meaning that he very well knows who he is and has a severe argument with him. The result of this argument is Cassie’s asking for a divorce, saying that her husband had no care or concern for the safety of her mother, who happened to be the only family she had. Cassie leaves the house and goes away on a music performance tour with her band, and during this time, she receives a phone call from Luke’s father, who says that Luke has been detained on the charge of fraudulent marriage, based on the intention of getting benefits, and the man now asks Cassie whether it is true. Cassie mumbles that not all of it is true, suggesting that the two had fallen in love in reality while looking after each other’s health, but the father gets the answer he was looking for.

‘Purple Hearts’ Ending Explained: Do Cassie And Luke Get To Unite?

A court-martial is held a few weeks later, in which Luke is tried for the charge of fraudulence against him. It becomes evident that Johnno was the one who had tipped off the authorities about this, and similar charges are also brought against Cassie. But since the wife is a civilian, the USMC would not hold any judgment in her regard and would instead forward the case to the police after they decide their judgment of Luke. However, much to the anguish of his superiors and his family members, Luke decides to speak in court, and he pleads guilty to the charges but says that Cassie had no idea about it or any role to play in it. He says that the woman was not even aware of the military laws when she married him, and did not know that she was doing anything illegal. The court immediately ruled that Luke should serve a six-month sentence in military prison and then be discharged from the Marine Corps for bad conduct. But this also means that any charge on Cassie was now withdrawn by the court, and she was free to live her life. Luke’s father understands that his son has actually taken a metaphorical bullet to protect his wife, and he is immensely proud of Luke and even tells him so. Luke also gets the Purple Heart medal, much to his surprise, before he is detained. At this time, Cassie is performing at a grand event at the Hollywood Bowl, and she watches the video Frankie had shot during her and Luke’s wedding, before going out to perform. Right after the end of her performance, she rushes out and drives over to the military base just before Luke is about to be taken away. The two embrace, kiss, and profess their love for each other. Cassie promises to wait for Luke to come out for six months before starting their life of love together. As the credits roll, visuals from six months later are seen, when Cassie, Luke, and Peaches spend a lovely time together at a sea beach.

In this way, “Purple Hearts” tells the story of how two polar opposite characters pretend to be married just for the benefits before ultimately deeply falling in love with all the sincerity in the world. Much like the whole film, the ending is too sweet and happy to feel true in any way. The film’s plot definitely lacks any sort of organic growth or advancement, as the two characters seem to fall in love, ask for a divorce, and then fall in love very randomly, only to play out the plot points. But of course, those enjoying “Purple Hearts” would not be here for such narrative progression, and the sweet, sugar-coated illusion of love and life might be enough for some.

“Purple Hearts” is a 2022 Drama Romance film directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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