Purple Hearts: Type 1 Diabetes Takes Center Stage


Purple Hearts (in reference to the award received by soldiers after being wounded in combat) is a Netflix movie released in July 2022. And of course, we have watched it to share our impressions with you! 

Don’t worry, there are no spoilers 😉 

What Is Purple Hearts About?

Cassie (Sofia Carson) is a singer, songwriter, lyricist and a waitress at a bar where she occasionally sings with her band, The Loyals. She has also been living with Type 1 diabetes for 6 months.

Luke (Nicholas Galitzine), has just enlisted in the Navy. He is also a drug addict.

They meet in the bar where Cassie works, one night when Luke’s regiment comes to party before being deployed to Iraq.

She is a liberal, a feminist. He is conservative and makes dirty jokes. They don’t get along.

But Cassie is working three jobs, and she doesn’t have the $500 or so needed to refill her fast and slow insulins, and her health insurance doesn’t cover it. Luke, on the other hand, owes his dealer $15,000.

Despite their (big) differences, Cassie and Luke decide to get married, so that Cassie can get Luke’s health insurance, and they can get the $2,000 the Army pays to married couples.

What About Diabetes, How Does The Movie Deal With It?

Diabetes is very well represented in Purple Hearts: we see Cassie test her blood sugar with lancet and a glucometer after an alarm reminds her to do so, then inject herself with insulin from a vial with a syringe. Later, she is equipped with a CGM and an insulin pump, and can be seen using their applicators. We also see her having an hyperglycemia when she runs out of insulin (the image becomes blurry, the sound is distant, she gasps) and having an hypoglycemia following severe stress, for which she takes glucose gel.

Even if the starting point of the film is indeed the fact that Cassie’s health insurance does not cover her expensive insulin, and that she is forced to engage in a fake marriage to pay for it, the movie is less aggressive than other media such as Grey’s Anatomy in its denunciation, and ends on a ratehr positive image of the army and the United States. Diabetes appears in the end rather as a disturbing element that allows to lead to the complicated love story and to unite Cassie and Luke.

Read more: 

Bonus: The Original Soundtrack Of The Film

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