Purple Hearts is a movie that is on Netflix. I heard about it in groups for parents of type one diabetics. I thought I would see how it is. Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease where T cells attack the beta cells. The beta cells are cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. As a parent of a type one diabetic, this whole situation really scares me.
It’s about a young woman, named Cassie who recently was diagnosed with type one diabetes. She is a singer in a band and is having trouble affording her insulin. Her best friend, Frankie is in the Marines and he is home but ships out soon.
Cassie’s band never performed original songs because she was afraid to. She only did covers to songs other people wrote.
Cassie is a leftist, anti conservative and very pro inclusion. She is very outspoken about what she believes. Her mannerisms make me think she is an autistic character, or at the very least neurodivergent.
Cassie takes five minute breaks while she is working in order to give herself injections in her car. She realized she runs out of insulin and goes to the pharmacy. Her insurance ran out and she cannot afford it. Her mother gives her some money but it isn’t enough. She cannot get her insulin for four days and she just leaves and says she will figure it out.
The next day, she nearly passes out from a complication of type one diabetes. The movie wasn’t specific if she was low or high. She asks Frankie if they can get married so she can stay healthy. The health benefits would more than cover the things she needs to stay healthy.
This perfectly illustrates the healthcare crisis in the United States. about 100,000 Americans die every year due to the lack of access to insulin. Some ration their insulin. This means they don’t take their intended dose in order to make it last longer.
When she asks her best friend, his bunkmate, Luke, says that his dad is military police and they both can get in serious trouble. He would turn his own family members in. They drop it. Frankie has girlfriend and she would not have like that very much.
Luke is very conservative, pro guns, queer phobic. Essentially, he his Cassie’s polar opposite.
This does happen a lot. Fake marriages help people get healthcare, citizenship and other things that other people take for granted. Please keep this in mind.
Before this encounter, Luke gets hunted down by his drug dealer. Luke is a recovering addict and is clean. The dealer, Johnno, chases him down because Luke owes him $15,000. Luke tells Johnno that he ships out in a few days and will get him the money. Johnno playfully threatens his family.
When people have under the table debts that they cannot pay, the people who lend it often go after the family of the people who owe them. It happens more times than people hear about in this country.
A few days later, Luke brings Johnno some money and it wasn’t enough for Johnno. Like mentions that he knew a girl who needed health insurance and he could give him the extra $2000 until his debt is paid. He seemed fine with that.
After thinking about this situation, Luke asks Cassie to marry him. He owes this money and there is a $2000 raise for being married and Cassie needs medical care. They had to go over different details about each other to make sure they would not get caught.
They do get married by another member of the military. Frankie gives Cassie a ring to get married with. This ring he was going to give to his girlfriend but he wasn’t going to propose until after he comes home from his tour. This ring belonged to his mother. Frankie tells Cassie that she would keep it safe.
Right after the wedding, the couple meet the rest of the platoon, the group of the marines that Frankie and Luke were serving with. One of the marines made a racist comment, Cassie corrected them. There was a huge argument and Luke stormed out. They had to make it look real. She then followed them and they made it look like they were making up.
After dinner, Cassie and Luke went to the hotel that the rest of the Platoon were staying at. It was next to the military base. It was just easier. As much as Cassie and Luke do not like each other, they wind up sleeping together anyway.
During the deployment, Cassie sees an endocrinologist. She gets an insulin pump and CGM. She starts to be able to actually live and not worry about if she will die overnight.
When A came to us with just a vial of insulin, glucometer and ketone strips we were lost. We brought him right to the hospital to get a baseline on his care. After he received Florida medicaid, he saw an endocrinologist. This is when he was fitted with a Dexcom. Before Dexcom and his pump, he was on two different kinds of insulin. Short acting and long acting. A is insulin sensitive. 1/2 unit of the long acting insulin made him go low every night at 4am. If he didn’t get it, he would be high. We had to judge it for ourselves until he was comfortable with a pump. It isn’t as easy as it might seem. Seeing her with her insulin pump and CGM made me cry.
Cassie then has to drop off Luke to the base to be deployed. They play up the newly weds in love. They have to play up all the communication. The communication turns into Cassie writing a song for Luke and her singing it for the company. She did it on a day that did not go well for them and it really lifted their spirits.
Luke pushed Cassie to submit her songs to different record companies. She wound up getting signed and being successful.
This goes to show that when someone is successful, it is never by themselves. There are always people that help others along the way. The ways they are helped are both large and small. How did people help me with my business? My partner had the idea and it wound up taking off and doing well. It is how we make my money and support my family.
Luke wound up getting hurt while in action and was sent home. Before Luke was deployed, he was told to talk to his brother but she did not know that his brother and father have the same name. She wound up talking to the wrong Jacob. Oops.
Luke did not pay Johnno all the money he was promised. Johnno wound up going after Cassie’s family. Cassie’s mother is a Hispanic immigrant and the police wound not coming. Cassie obviously got really angry and kicked Luke out.
After this, Luke hunted down Johnno, threw the money at him and beat him up. He warned Johnno to stay away from the family. Later on, Johnno reported them to the military.
Soon came the court martial. Something surprising happened. Luke took the blame for the entire situation. He said that Cassie had no idea it was illegal. This prevented her from being charged and prosecuted. This made her think. He wound up being sentenced to 6 months inprisionment.
Cassie tried calling him and no answer. She wound up speeding in her car and barely made it to see him before he was taken into custody. She told him that this was a real marriage and she would wait for him. They both realized they both love each other.
This movie does parallel a lot of the social crisis that this country does face. The most obvious one is the healthcare crisis. Thousands of Americans die every year due to inadequate healthcare. This is usually due to people not being able to afford it for serious health conditions, like Type One Diabetes.
Another crisis is the addiction crisis. People turn to these substances in order to deal with different circumstances that are not under their control. The unspoken side effect of addition is owing shady people a lot of money. This not only puts the addict in danger but their loved ones instead.
Another crisis that the movie touches on is the crisis immigrants face when coming into this country. Immigrants can get a job, pay taxes but cannot vote. They cannot vote until they get a green card. A lot of times some immigrants never get their green card and not afforded rights that people who are born here are.
One myth that the movie touches upon and cracks is that people can be self made. No one is successful by themselves. There are people encouraging, supporting people who are trying to make something work. In this case, Luke was pushing Cassie to submit her songs to record companies and she wound up being successful.
Please take the lessons that this movie teaches and not cheapen it by hating it because a fake marriage took place. In many situations, these fake marriages are necessary. Until the system changes, these fake marriages will still be happening to help people survive.