Starring Nina Dobrev, Jimmy Yang, Darren Barnet, and Harry Shum Jr., written by Daniel Mackey and Rebecca Ewing, and directed by Hernán Jiménez.
I have a vendetta against rom-coms. Most of them are too flowery for me and I have trouble getting passed the halfway mark. This was true for The Notebook, The Wedding Singer, and How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. I, however, was able to sit through Titanic, The Holiday, Dirty Dancing and Love Hard, so I guess the vendetta does have some exceptions.
Considering it’s no longer the Christmas season and spring is upon us, you might be wondering why I decided to review this film now. The answer is: out of no where, I had the desire to rewatch it. I took that as a sign that I liked this film, or the way it made me feel, enough to write a blog post about it.
It’s Different (in a good way)
The rom-coms that I steer clear of are cookie-cutter, even though that can mean something drastically different to everyone. In the beginning, Love Hard presented itself as just another romance movie with little depth or complexity. But once Natalie (Nina Dobrev) journeys across the United States to spend Christmas with Josh (Jimmy Yang) and it does not go as expected, I was hooked. I wondered how the writers would finish the story, would the model get the girl or would the dork with a good heart outshine Tag’s pretty face? Deep down, I felt like I knew the answer, but I ended up being wrong.
The sense of humor present in the dialogue is unique and is not at all lazy. It was imbued with personality and it intrigued me. Natalie was not presented as a perfect person, and neither was anyone else in the film. Tag (Darren Barnet) who is supposed to be the “desirable” guy, is “off” from the start. He has clear flaws, and he brings out the flaws in Natalie, too.
I found this dynamic interesting to watch. Natalie does not realize Tag is not the right fit for her and keeps trying to make it work. Tag, on the other hand, also falls into Natalie’s lies and believes she is a great fit for him, too.
My favorite character was Josh. Yes, he catfished Natalie and is not perfect either, that much is clear from the start. However, he reacts to the situation in a way that I did not expect. He admits he did something wrong, but doesn’t freak out. Instead, he shares some of the blame with Natalie. They had been speaking on the phone for hours and Josh explains how he was being himself, so if she doesn’t like him now because she sees what he actually looks like, she is the true problem. This is when Natalie, of course, points out that she was not the one who started a relationship by lying about her identity.
Throughout the story, Natalie and Josh appear to have more in common than Natalie and Tag. While this takes a lot of time for Natalie to discover, it becomes clear pretty early on for the audience. Josh is a nice guy. He didn’t have some evil plot in mind when he catfished Natalie. Everything kind of just happened and he felt like he was in too deep to get out.
My Rating: 7.5/10
I like a rom-com with some depth, twists and turns, and the good guy actually winning in the end. This film had flawed characters, unlike most rom-coms that try to paint a perfect person that does not exist in the real world. Now, I am not saying this film should have won an Oscar, but I am saying that I like it’s message and it didn’t make me cringe nonstop (which is a win).
When Natalie finally meets a nice guy on a dating app, she decides to surprise him for Christmas, and she discovers that Josh is not who she thought he was.
Where can you watch it?
This film is a Netflix Original so it can only be watched on Netflix.
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