Natalie (Nina Dobrev) is a hopeless romantic journalist from LA who has been on countless dates over the years. When she matches with handsome Tag (Darren Barnet) who lives on the East Coast, Natalie thinks that her luck is finally changing. The two spend a couple of blissful weeks talking non-stop until Tag suggests she visits him for the holidays. Taking a leap of faith, Natalie is completely surprised when she discovers that she has been catfished by Tag’s childhood friend Josh (Jimmy O. Yang). To get her to stay, Josh says he’ll help Natalie land Tag if she pretends to be his girlfriend in front of his family (James Saito, Rebecca Staab, Althea Kaye, Harry Shum Jr. and Mikaela Hoover) he tries so hard to impress.
I actually wasn’t going to review Love Hard at first. I thought it would be just another Netflix movie that would be forgettable right after I finished it. Well, I was totally wrong. While it wasn’t a masterpiece of any sort, I loved absolutely every single minute of it and figured that there was no way that I couldn’t not write about it!
There was never a question as to whether or not I’d watch the movie. The cast, in particular, reeled me in. I’ve been a fan of Nina Dobrev’s since her Vampire Diaries days. I hadn’t seen her in much lately which is a shame because she’s such a likeable person. Darren Barnet of Never Have I Ever fame is a rising star. Mark my words, he will be in a lot more projects for years to come. His looks don’t hurt either. It was also a treat having Harry Shum Jr. in this as Josh’s overbearing, perfectionist brother.
What I liked most about this film was the moral it wanted to share. Never judge a book by it’s cover. I feel like this is so important, especially today where social media has such a strong influence. It’s so easy to pretend to be somebody else, but it is important to be yourself regardless. While some say that the outcome of the story was not entirely believable, I think it worked perfectly for the tone.
Love Hard officially marked my first Christmas movie of 2021. I swear I’m starting earlier and earlier, though I can’t lie and say that I really mind. Not only was it adorable, it had me laughing multiple times and swooning at others. It was a perfect light, feel good movie that instantly put a smile on my face right when I needed it.