Pop Culture Recaps

The Highs and Lows of Love Hard


The Highs and Lows of Love Hard

In the grand tradition of Christmas Prince, Holidate and The Princess Switch, Love Hard is Netflix’s latest foray into the world of Christmas movies. Starring Nina Dobrev (of Vampire Diaries fame), Jimmy O. Yang (from Crazy Rich Asians) and Darren Barnet (from Never Have I Ever), this romantic comedy follows a dating columnist who travels cross-country to meet her online boyfriend, only to discover she’s been catfished.

My love for all things romance-movie is well documented so when I saw that Netflix had already dropped their first Christmas movie I knew it was *officially* time to get into the festive spirit, and review this film.

The Highs

  • I just really love Darren Barnet’s face so any film where I get to stare at his beautiful visage for an hour and half is a win for me honestly
  • See above: Darren Barnet rock climbing
  • The updated version of ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ was fun to watch!
  • I also love to see some ‘Die Hard is a Christmas movie’ appreciation. It IS a Christmas movie. Period.


  • The scene where Nina Dobrev’s Natalie and (catfish boy) Josh stole all the newspapers to avoid their engagement notice being seen by Darren Barnet’s Tag was unhinged but honestly so fun to watch.
  • As much as a I disliked the catfishing element of this film, it was fantastic to see a very different kind of romantic lead.

The Lows

  • Are we really still doing catfishing movies in 2021? Honestly when Natalie realised she’d been catfished she should’ve left and NEVER COME BACK. End of film.
  • Natalie’s allergic reaction to the kiwi fruit shots. That image is seared into my brain. Forever.
  • This film had a LOT of fat sham-ey jokes. This is NOT ok in 2021. Jeez.
  • I’ll repeat it again. Are we not DONE with movies that present catfishing as a viable dating option?!


WTF Moments

  • When Natalie’s boss Lee aggressively exercised in front of her during their meeting. I didn’t want to see that.
  • ALSO the name of the blog Natalie wrote for was called Soash Media. I’ll repeat that: SOASH MEDIA. And yet her boss told her she ‘wasn’t a serious journalist’. What?!
  • The fact that Natalie decided to surprise the man she’d been chatting to on an online dating app at Christmas?! After they’d only been chatting for max a fortnight? Unhinged. Honestly I get both why her boss was so supportive of this endeavour for content, and why her dating life was so chaotic in the first place. Girl made some impulsive choices.
  • The auto tuned caroling, Was it just because ex-Glee alum Harry Shum Jr. wanted to have a musical moment?
  • Why were all the elderly people at the retirement home SO THIRSTY?? Also, so keen to catfish? Catfishing isn’t cool folks!


Missed Opportunities

  • More Darren Barnet!! He was BARELY in the film.
  • MORE Harry Shum Jr.!!! He was an excellent villain. And looked damned good in a Christmas sweater…

Lingering Questions

  • Did Natalie ever actually write her ‘I actually found love’ article for Soash Media?
  • Is Natalie moving to New York now or is Josh moving to LA? Are they going to try for a long distance relationship? Are they still technically engaged? So many unanswered questions about the future of this relationship.


In Conclusion

Love Hard isn’t a great movie. And it’s ~slightly~ (quite) problematic. Was it a diverting hour and a half which made me want to put my Christmas tree up in the middle of November, and re-download Hinge to find myself a holiday boyfriend? Yes.

If you’re already feeling *festive* and love a bad-but-fun Netflix rom com you’ll probably find something to enjoy here!

Next on the Netflix watch list: A Castle For Christmas, a new rom-com starring Carey Elwas and Brooke Shields.


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