Despite the ease of viewing, the holiday film makes you wonder if it goes too far in rationalizing catfish fishing and portrays the phenomenon as harmless.
Netflix is launching early Christmas romances featuring Hernan Jimenez. Love Hard… Natalie Bauer (Nina Dobrev), a columnist from Los Angeles, is looking for her other half and after a series of failed dates is depressed and tired of the men in Los Angeles. However, she’s smart enough to turn those horrific experiences into dramatic columns for her editor Lee (Matty Finocio).
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Natalie’s best friend rushes to her aid and invites her to change the settings of her dating app to show men who live far from Los Angeles, and Natalie agrees. She soon encounters the profile of Josh (Jimmy O. Young), an Asian American who speaks three languages, loves nature, and lives 3,000 miles away. They are the same. Soon, the couple starts talking on the phone, exchanging intimate details of their personal lives and even starting to fall asleep together … virtually.
Natalie is convinced that he can be real. During one of their conversations, Josh mentions how he wished Natalie was with him for Christmas. So, of course, Natalie decides to grant his wish and flies towards him … only to realize that she was caught by an introverted man who lives in his parents’ basements and loves to make candles. Josh admits that he did use pictures of his best friend Tag (Darren Barnett) on his profile.
- Director: Hernan Jimenez
- Cast: Nina Dobrev, Darrent Barnett, Jimmy O. Young
- Storyline: A columnist flies to a small town for Christmas to meet his girlfriend from a dating app, only to realize that she has been caught.
- Duration: 105 minutes
Natalie, instead of telling her editor another story about how the date went wrong and moving on, decides to stay and plot with Josh. They make a deal; Josh promises to help Natalie deal with Tag on the condition that Natalie pretends to be Josh’s girlfriend until Christmas.
After an embarrassing engagement toast, trouble-free copying of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and stealing all the newspapers in town, the film ultimately brings us a happy ending. He tries to prove that a person is more than just appearance, and that people cannot be judged – a moral that has already been paid attention to by several millions of other films. But this is not exactly a terrible watch; Redemptive qualities include Dobrev and Young’s on-screen camaraderie, and Real lovethemed final.
What kind Love Hard really goes right, is his comment on dating, especially through the lens of dating apps these days. However, his attempt to solve the problem of ingenuity and dexterity in applications by asking people to be sincere and overcome their “shortcomings” goes unheeded. It’s just not convincing.
The film also makes one wonder if it goes too far in rationalizing catfish fishing and portrays the phenomenon as harmless and something that people can get away with. Natalie is practically deprived of free will and is often shown as a woman whose personality is focused on the search for love. It’s impossible to understand how Josh and his brother are fixing their paths towards the end, especially when they have had a toxic relationship literally their entire lives.
Looks like the romcom decided to bake too many things in one go … and ended up giving us some undercooked and burnt out goodies for Christmas. However, if after a grueling day at work you want to play something in the background to rewind, Love Hard a good place to start the season of love.
Love Hard is now streaming on Netflix