Three Reasons Why I loved “Purple Hearts” From a Disability Point of View

Ok, so it’s been a long time since I’ve written an editorial blog article and one that wasn’t horse racing tips. However, over the weekend I watched Purple Hearts and it’s one that I really enjoyed! While I think my disability did help me to connect with the movie more due to some of its themes, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good romantic move. So, here are my three reasons why I loved “Purple Hearts” from a disability point of view.

For those that don’t know, Purple Hearts is a movie on Netflix. The blurb reads “An aspiring musician agrees to a marriage of convenience with a soon-to-deploy Marine, but a tragedy soon turns their fake relationship all too real.”.

What I loved most about this movie was the themes in it, plus I’m also a sucker for a love story. While I don’t have military knowledge (hence why I won’t be commenting on that side of the story and how accurate it was), as someone with a disability who has heard stories from America (where this movie is based), I probably found this side of the story more relatable than some other people might. If you’ve watched it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether you connected with the characters and story or not.

Warning, this blog article does include a few spoilers, but warnings have been added.

How bad the American health care system is

While it might not seem like a big thing to some, one thing I noticed that this movie pointed out was just how bad the American health system is.

One of the main characters, Cassie, has diabetes (which is just so cool in itself to see one of the main characters have a disability). Early in the movie, she runs out of insulin, but her insurance won’t pay for anymore for a few more days. If she were to pay out of pocket, it was going to cost hundreds of dollars (I’m assuming the writers did their homework on this, but I can’t confirm the exact cost of how much insulin costs out of pocket).

The idea of insurance not being able to provide basic health care plays such an important role in the movies as it’s the catalyst for the whole plot line. I think it’s refreshing to see the true struggles that some Americans go through with their health system in a movie, as I have heard real stories from people with disabilities and their insurance rejecting really important things. It makes me thankful to live in Australia!

The vulnerability that comes with having a disability

As previously mentioned, Cassie has type one diabetes. Through the movie, we learn how she manages it and also the frustrations that come with it. I feel the producers did a good job at portraying the emotions that come with having a disability. Some days you’ll have days where having a disability doesn’t even cross your mind. However, on other days, you can get really annoyed at your limitations and just the extra things that come with having a disability.

This theme doesn’t just stop with Cassie though. *Spoiler alert* Luke, the other main character, is involved in an accident and he too becomes disabled for a period of time. There was a scene where he didn’t want to shower or bathe because it was too much work. I think this scene in particular is very powerful for the disability community.

It captures that moment of needing help but then also having to accept it. I’m lucky enough in that I don’t know life without my disability, but asking for help, especially if you have an acquired disability, is a skill that has to be learnt. You have to learn that you’re not a burden for asking and that it’s ok. It’s all about learning to accept your disability too.

Also in the bath scene is a moment of rawness and vulnerability. The moment of having nothing to hide behind. As someone with a disability, I have to completely open up to people that are not always my closest family and friends. My support workers have seen me at my most vulnerable and rawest. The moments when non-disabled people can just hide away, I have to face the world. Having a bad day? Someone has to help you get up. Don’t like a part of your body? Someone’s going to see it when they help you shower. It’s a side that isn’t often talked about and perhaps that one scene is why I loved this movie so much.

Understanding that relationships are give and take

Probably one of my biggest insecurities when it comes to dating (besides my physical looks) is that romantic relationships with me have an extra layer. If we’re alone, then I’m going to need you to help me with tasks that other people in other relationships don’t do.

This movie shows that relationships are all about helping each other out though and that it’s not always 50/50 give and take. Some days you’re the one that needs help and other days, you’re the one that needs help.

*Spoiler alert* in one scene, Cassie is having a diabetic low, so Luke has to get her some glucose. In another, it’s Cassie helping Luke bathe. They help each other when they need it the most. What is nice to see is that these intimate moments help to bring them closer together and I hope that happens for my partner and me (whenever I may meet them).

Besides all of these amazing themes, it was just a really good romantic and feel-good movie. It also features some original music which is fantastic as well (written and sung by the actress who plays Cassie).

Have you watched Purple Hearts? I’d love to hear what you thought about it.

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