Netflix’s “Love Hard” is a surprisingly fun Christmas rom-com

Lincoln HayesComedy, Comedy, Movies, ReviewsLeave a Comment

They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. This generally applies to movie titles as well. People get degrees in marketing and make buckets and buckets of money coming up with movie titles. 

Yet somehow a Christmas movie called “Love Hard” got the green light on Netflix. Even as a layperson, I know this is a terrible title and certainly not one that would catch the average viewer’s eye in the right way to get them to select it on a Saturday night with the family. 

All that said, “Love Hard” is a fun, cute, and heartfelt Christmas movie that turns a few film tropes on their heads in a delightful fashion. 

This is a story about finding love

“Love Hard” follows Natalie Bauer (Nina Dobrev), an unlucky LA gal who can’t seem to find any decent guys in the City of Angels. When her friend takes her phone and changes her search radius to the entire US, she matches with a cute guy named Josh from upstate New York who seems almost too good to be true. They connect on so many things, despite his favorite Christmas movie being “Love Actually” and hers being “Die Hard”. After several long, heartfelt phone calls over consecutive nights, Natalie decides to surprise Josh by flying to Lake Placid, NY to spend the holidays with him.

Arriving at his house, she first meets his parents, Barb and Bob, and his grandmother, June. When she sees Josh (Jimmy O. Yang)  for the first time, the truth is finally revealed: she’s been catfished. 

Damn. Now what??

Turns out Josh used a photo of his childhood/former friend Tag (Darren Barnet) because every time he’d used his own photo in the past, he didn’t get any matches. Using Tag’s, he was inundated with attractive women swiping right. Not wanting his family to learn the truth, Josh begs Natalie to continue the ruse that they are dating and in exchange, he’ll help her get with Tag. 

Hilarity and heartfelt cuteness ensues as Natalie and Josh learn even more about each other, their pasts, passions, fears, and insecurities. She helps him follow his passion to start his own business, he helps her overcome her fears and take risks. When Josh’s brother Owen (Harry Shum Jr.) and sister-in-law Chelsea (Mikaela Hoover) arrive with big news, Josh takes Natalie’s advice to speak up for himself and complicates their relationship even further. 

Ultimately, love wins out and everyone finds the person they were hoping they would when they signed up for the dating apps in the first place. And, to bring things full circle, the title comes from both of their favorite Christmas movies, in case you didn’t catch that already. 

I’m not misty-eyed; you are.

I love a movie that surprises me and this certainly did. I expected something akin to the usual Netflix and Hallmark Christmas movies, but this was heartfelt and very fun. Dobrev and Yang work incredibly well with each other and the gender-swapped “pretend to be my date to make someone jealous/notice me” was a fun use of the troupe. It’s nothing ground-breaking, but it should bring a smile to your face. 

Ignore the title (though it is cute when you realize what it means) and give this a watch. It will be a fun addition to your Christmas movie lineup. 


Rating: 5 out of 5


Lincoln L. Hayes is an actor and writer in NYC. Christmas is his favorite time of year and he loves discussing holiday movies on Twitter. Follow him @lincolnlhayes and join him for Hallmark Movie Bingo.

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Lincoln HayesNetflix’s “Love Hard” is a surprisingly fun Christmas rom-com