Love Hard: Hard To Love?


The holiday season never fails to bring joy, goodwill, and cheesy movies. One of which is Netflix’s new Love Hard. It follows Natalie (Nina Dobrev), a Los Angeles woman who writes tales of her dating disasters online. Through all the disappointment in her romantic life, she ends up finding Josh (Jimmy O. Yang), an attractive nature-loving man from Lake Placid, New York. The two rapidly bond

after meeting on a dating app, leading the smitten Natalie to surprise him at his home for Christmas. However, it proved to be yet another catastrophe, for Josh was not who she expected. Rather than a hunk, he was just a typical man, short in stature with average looks. The man from the profile photos was named Tag (Darren Barnet) and used to be a close friend of Josh. To make up for his deceit, Josh tried to set him up with Natalie. To return the favor, she acted as Josh’s girlfriend around his family to impress them. The situation then continued to snowball until the end of the movie, creating excitement and tension for the viewer.

Most of the characters in the movie fit very cliché archetypes. Natalie is the epitome of a stock character. The audience can immediately see that she is simply desperate for love and attention. It is evident when she regularly dwells on her being single, tries to make herself seem special compared to other girls, and makes most decisions based on what will help her acquire validation from others. Although she has a minor character arc, she never fully learns to find contentment in herself instead of from other people. This is also seen through Tag. The writers have stretched him so far to love nature that he is unrealistically attached to it. The majority of his screen time consists of him talking about outdoor activities and quoting the transcendentalist Walden author, Thoreau. This wannabe Chris McCandless from Into the Wild lacks complexity in his personality, making him one of the most boring characters in the entire movie. Nonetheless, the writers successfully used archetypes to benefit the comedic aspect of the film when creating Josh’s brother, Owen (Harry Shum Jr.). He is the golden child of the Lin family and is completely self-absorbed. His constant clashing with Josh is done so humorously that it makes the movie much more entertaining.

Josh is by far the best character in the film. Out of them all, he has the most depth. He does not fit into one category, for he is not as completely awkward and irresponsible as he seems earlier on. As the story develops, his actions reveal how caring and driven he really is. Although they will not approve of all of his choices, the audience will still tend to root for him to have a happy ending. One of the best scenes of his is when he and Natalie perform a less problematic version of  “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

Overall, Love Hard is enjoyable to watch. The storyline is cute and romantic, and the comedy greatly contributes to the entertainment value. It would be a great choice for you to watch during this upcoming Winter Break.