In a world of fast-paced modern dating that appears to focus on polyamory relationships and narcissistic conquests, Love Hard reminds audiences that being authentic is way more powerful.
This review of the Netflix film Love Hard does not contain spoilers.
One of the most-needed components of a romantic comedy is giving reasons for the audience to care. It’s not about being original because there are so many films released within this genre that it’s a writer’s nightmare to be fresh. It has to have a cast that is sold and a script that has meaningful messages that resonate on the screen.
Netflix’s Love Hard is part of an overindulged genre of romantic comedies, but it will be remembered for its touching message to the audience — be authentic. The premise follows Natalie (played by Nina Dobrev), an LA writer, who, after meeting her perfect match on a dating app, takes a “leap of faith” and flies 3,000 miles to surprise her romantic endeavor for Christmas. Unfortunately, when she meets her match (Josh Lin – played by comedian Jimmy O. Yang), she learns she has been catfished.
But the story does not stop there — Josh stole the identity of a man that does not live far (Tag – played by Darren Barnet), so in a beneficial deal, Josh asks Natalie to pretend to be his girlfriend for his loving family, and he’ll help her woo Tag. This provides the perfect dating article for her editor, but like all rom-coms, nothing is simple, and everything is complicated.
While predictable (which is to be expected), Love Hard is way more resonating than sold. Rather than aiming for the dulling fairytale ending, the director (Hernan Jimenez) and writers (Daniel Mackey, Rebecca Ewing) focus on the needs and desires of the characters. Instead of artificially honing in on “girl meets boy” in an unlikely romance, it tackles the shortfalls of the characters and how they can endure and improve themselves.
In a world of fast-paced modern dating that appears to focus on polyamory relationships and narcissistic conquests, Love Hard reminds audiences that being authentic is way more powerful. It reminds audiences that what you think you are looking for is not precisely what you are looking for. We tend to be drawn by fantasies rather than realities, which is the illusion of online dating, but at the crux of it, there’s a yearning for an attractive, compatible match. That’s what the Netflix film attempts to achieve, and it succeeds it well.
The chemistry between Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O. Yang is not meant to be full of sparks and excitement; the wedge between them is served by lies, despite the many relatable things they connect on. The story keeps the connection at bay, allowing the characters to develop; we learn about Natalie’s preferences, Jimmy’s career desires, and Jimmy’s complicated relationship with his brother. This is by no means a bottom-of-the-barrel script.
So, surprisingly, as I end this review, I recommend Love Hard wholeheartedly. You never know what to expect on Netflix, but this is by far my favorite romantic comedy this year, and 2021 is nearly over.
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