Netflix’s new political drama, Purple Hearts, has received an onslaught of backlash since its release on July 29. Now, star and executive producer Sofia Carson, and director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum are responding to critics and defending the film. It co-stars British actor Nicholas Galitzine.

The love story follows a liberal musician who marries a conservative Marine in order to get health insurance. This particular take on the “opposites-attract” cliché left a bad taste in some viewers’ mouths, and the film has been accused of racism, misogyny and queerphobia. Viewers have pointed to offensive quotes like “to life, love, and hunting down some goddamn Arabs, baby!” and “what exactly would you like me to do? Go over there and teach them pronouns?”

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Carson and Rosenbaum have caught wind of the criticism, but stand firmly in their belief that Purple Hearts has a positive and important message.

“Why I fell in love with the movie is… It’s two hearts, one red, one blue… who are really raised to hate each other,” Carson told Variety. “Through the power of love, they learn to lead with empathy and compassion and love each other and turn into this beautiful shade of purple. We wanted to represent both sides as accurately as possible. What I think I’ve learned to do as an artist is separate myself from all of that and just listen to what the world is feeling and reacting to with the film. That has been so beautifully overwhelming and so many people have felt seen or are comforted by this movie.”

Rosenbaum added, “I hope people understand that in order for characters to grow, they need to be flawed in the beginning. So we very much intentionally created two characters that had been bred to hate each other… In order for the red heart and the blue heart to kind of turn purple, you have to have them be kind of extreme.”

“They both have been neglected by the system; he’s hurt in a war that doesn’t seem to be ending and she’s slipping through the cracks of the healthcare system,” she added. “So they’re both neglected by the system, and then they live under one roof, and in these extreme circumstances, they learn to become more moderate and to listen to each other and to love.”

Despite the backlash, Purple Hearts has been watched over 100 million hours so far.

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