Love Hard; the Newest Rom-Com to be Added to Netflix’s Extensive Holiday Catalogue


Well folks, it’s already that time of the year again. The holiday season has snuck up on us once again just like it always has, but fear not, Netflix has us covered with all of the holiday content we could possibly need. While Netflix of course provides subscribers with all of their favorite holiday classics, the movie and tv-show streaming platform also draws some much-deserved attention to the newest holiday movies and tv-shows that have true tradition potential.

Last year, subscribers were obsessed with the Netflix original movie, Holidate, starring Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey, but this year movie director Hernan Jimenez appears to be turning heads with his latest work on a new Christmas flick.

This holiday season, Netflix gives subscribers a front-row seat to Hernan Jimenez’s newest movie, Love Hard, a romantic comedy starring Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, and Darren Barnet.

Produced through Netflix as a Netflix original movie, the newest Christmas flick is limited to Netflix subscribers only. Getting ahead of the holiday festivities, Jimenez celebrated his newest movie by releasing it onto the Netflix platform on November 5th this year, and subscribers are absolutely eating it up like a Christmas dinner spread.

Being the stereotypical, emotional, romantic comedy loving female I am, I must say I was eager to sit down with my bowl full of popcorn and feel all of the feels while watching the newest date night worthy movie. Except, if you aren’t watching this movie with your beau, a box of tissues or two might be of use as there are many sappy, tear jerker moments throughout the movie.

Love Hard, is 105 minutes of ___

Directed by Hernan Jimenez , written by Danny Mackey and Rebecca Ewing, and produced by McG, Love Hard, follows our female protagonist, Natalie Bauer (Nina Dobrev), yet another hopeless romantic living in Los Angeles. She has made a career for herself by writing about her disastrous love life in a column at her job working for a cringeworthy website, Soash Media. The worse the date she has, the better the story she will write.

After a string of disappointingly awful dating experiences set up through an online dating app akin to Tinder, Natalie’s intern turned best friend, Kerry (Heather McMahan), attempts to save Natalie from suffering through future failures by widening the dating app’s search range to include not just the five mile radius Natalie had agreed upon in her app’s settings, but the whole country.

Finally, Natalie matches with a charismatic, likeable, and easy to talk to guy who catches her attention and holds it, Josh Lin (Jimmy O. Yang). After several long conversations over the phone getting to know each other, Natalie, beginning to get swept up in Josh’s too-good-to-be-true persona, is feeling pretty convinced of his character.

And after Kerry’s suspicion of Josh drives her to question his authenticity, in a joking manner she steals Natalie’s phone to call Josh and ask him to send a selfie of himself in the moment to prove he is who he says he is. Surprising us all, he does. Although maybe it would have been wise for Natalie to recall photo-shop, but hey, Josh is surely not a catfish…right?

Following a particularly long conversation on the phone with Natalie the night prior, Josh expresses his longing for her to be with him for the holidays this year. Giving into her longing to find out if her other half is truly out there waiting for her, Natilie takes a leap of faith by risking her last shred of dignity to fly 3,000 miles from Los Angeles to Josh’s hometown of Lake Placid, New York to surprise him for the holidays.

After an ample amount of convincing, Natalie’s boss, Lee (Matty Finochio), agrees to allow her to travel across the country for what he anticipates to be Natalie’s most disastrous date yet.

With high hopes Natalie makes the trip to Lake Placid and faces several challenges along the way before reaching her final destination, including meeting one of Josh’s childhood friends, Eric (Sean Depner), who seems to have more problems than most of Natalie’s dates combined.

When Natalie arrives at what seems to be a welcoming, warm household where all of Josh’s family members are there to greet her, she lets herself fall into a heartfelt moment before meeting her potential last match…but she let herself fall too soon.

After seeing Josh in person Natalie realizes that she made a HUGE mistake. As it turns out, she had been catfished by her fake date’s childhood best friend. And in a twist of fate, as Natalie flees from the horrible situation her faux beau has created, she runs into the guy she has pictured in her mind when talking to Josh from day one, Tag (Darren Barnet), Josh’s childhood best friend whom he had been pretending to be.

Attempting to rectify the situation, Josh proposes a deal: he will set her and Tag up if she pretends to be his girlfriend for the holidays to impress his family and to avoid total humiliation.

Will Natalie finally get her happily ever after, or will she write her best disaster date story yet?

Netflix’s first festive rom-com of the season this year was definitely cut from the same cloth as some of our favorite Hallmark holiday season staples that we have had on repeat since November 1st, and like your everyday Christmas romance movie, Love Hard is not without its cheesy, unoriginal moments. But aren’t those cheesy moments what all of us secretly yearn for anyways? Whether you’re vibin’ on the side by yourself or you’ve locked yourself down with a significant other, those cheesy moments never fail to form those stubborn little butterflies in your stomach.

Only a select few scenes featured in the movie poisoned the story with unrealistic situations that gave off a cheap feel, such as when it was first revealed to Natalie that Josh has a brother who he does not take liking to and moments later Josh’s brother, Owen (Harry Shum Jr.), and his wife, Chelsea (Mikaela Hoover), walk through the front door to join the family for the holidays. Josh’s father, Bob (James Saito), claims that “now it’s Christmas” after Owen and Chelsea’s arrival and hiss mom, Barb (Rebecca Staab) embraces them both in a warm hug while Josh and Natalie seem to hide in the shadows waiting to be acknowledged.

From a point early in the movie, the plot becomes distinctly predictable. Even the title of the movie foreshadows the ending of the movie, but that certainly does not stop the audience from holding onto the edge of their seat with anticipation waiting to see who Natalie ends up with after growing so attached to her lovable character.

The actors and actresses involved in Love Hard brought the movie to life by giving it a humorous touch. The dialogue throughout the movie is rattled with witty humor and sarcastic comments that have the ability to slide right over your head if you’re not paying close attention. Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O. Yang deliver countless laughable moments through their characters’ quirks bringing a sense of relatability to their characters.

Dobrev’s character, Natalie, with her drive for a dreamy writing career in journalism, her rock-solid opinions on holiday cliches that she whips out at just the right time, and her desire for romance make it incredibly easy to get behind her character.

But what would the main character be without the comedic, sassy best friend who pushes her to be the hero in her own story as McMahan’s character, Kelly, did for Natalie in Love Hard. Although the audience doesn’t see much of Kelly after Natalie travels to Lake Placid to surprise Josh for the holidays, every single thing Kelly said was pure gold.

Speaking of Natalie’s online boo thang, Yang’s character, Josh, brings such a unique and quirky feel to the movie. Josh was designed to be the funny and likeable character, and very early on you’ll find yourself rooting for him and wanting him to find happiness.

Overall, Love Hard is an exceptionally well executed take on the holiday rom-com formula that jolts new life into the usual shenanigans of the typical Christmas flicks. After watching Love Hard, it will be hard to love another Christmas rom-com more this holiday season.