Review: It’s Difficult to Love ‘Love Hard,’ But Easy to Like It

It’s all well and good to mock the absolute torrent of new (usually romance/rom-com) Christmas movies viewers are inundated every year around this time. They are profligate and often of dubious quality. When one hits, though? Oh, that vibe is delicious.

Does Love Hard, Netflix’s first holiday offering off the blocks, hit that perfect vibration? It does not. Is it still a sweet, warm bit of comfort film? That it is.

To get to those cozy feels, though, one has to push through one of the more, well, dangerous premises in seasonal romcoms. Hard is a movie not without, shall we say, problematic elements.

Natalie Bauer (Nina Dobrev) makes her living going on bad dates. She’s like a miserable version of Carrie Bradshaw, all relationship downers, no orgasmic highs. How a column could exist for months, never mind years, is the sort of mystery Love Hard has no interest in exploring. And, honestly, that’s fine. This is the kind of suspended disbelief that costs one nothing.

Despite a consistent wage, Natalie has grown weary of acting as the rodeo clown of the dating world. Her friend and co-worker Kerry (Heather McMahan) convinces Natalie to expand her dating apps’ radius. When she does, and it connects her to Josh, Natalie dares to dream.

Under Kerry’s further encouragement, Natalie pitches her boss Lee (Matty Finochio) on the idea of a good relationship story, one that culminates with her flying cross country to surprise her long-distance date and during Christmas no less. 

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