4 / 5
3.5 / 5
I Have a Love-Hate Relationship With 'Love Hard'
‘Love Hard’ is a sweet Christmas romcom about two people who fall in love while pretending to date. It’s a romantic and fun watch.
If you can forget the catfishing.
‘Love Hard’ is about catfishing. Protagonists Natalie (Nina Dobrev) and Josh (Jimmy O. Yang) meet via an online dating app and fall in love in a whirlwind two-week romance. They connect on every level but physical. Natalie never sees Josh; they only talk over text and phone calls. They never use FaceTime or Zoom or any of the other many video chat apps we have in the age of COVID.
Natalie decides to plan a surprise visit to Josh for Christmas anyway, only to discover he looks nothing like his profile pictures. But the man from the pictures—Tag (Darren Barnet)—is real, and she’s determined to be with him. So, Josh and Natalie strike a deal: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend until Christmas and in return, he’ll help her date Tag.
I have a love-hate relationship with this movie, mostly because of the mixed messages on catfishing. Let’s start with the good stuff.
There’s a lot of good in ‘Love Hard’. The portrayal of modern online dating is scarily accurate. This movie showcases the two sides of online dating: how difficult it is to find the right person and how easy it is to form an intimate connection. Natalie and Josh fall in love quickly. They talk and text constantly but never see one another. This is where the movie shows the dangers of online dating: you can lose someone as easily as you gain them. Catfishing happens all the time, and it’s all too easy to become a victim. [read more]