'Love Hard' On Netflix: 6 Reasons To Watch The Holiday Rom-Com

Love Hard Jimmy O. Yang Josh Lin Nina Dobrev Natalie Bauer Netflix
Bettina Strauss / Netflix
Can it be? Does Netflix have the first great Christmas movie of 2021? “Love Hard” is the first of many holiday films set to premiere on the streaming platform before the end of the year. It will also be the hardest one for any rivals to usurp. The quality sets the bar that high.

“Love Hard” centers on a highly relatable theme for the current generation of romance seekers. Natalie (Nina Dobrev) is a millennial bachelorette fed up with Los Angeles’ dating scene. She chronicles her constantly failing search for love in her column until a dating app seems to have matched her with her “ideal” guy. Or has it?

Love Hard Jimmy O. Yang Josh Lin Darren Barnet Tag Abbott Netflix
Bettina Strauss / Netflix

It Explores What Matters In A Relationship

Natalie and Tag bond over many topics, including their shared distaste for “Love Actually” and belief that “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. Hence, the clever double-meaning title of the film. However, their connection runs deeper than skin-deep infatuation. “Love Hard” shows viewers all of the clever repartees from Natalie’s side as she falls harder and harder for Tag (a scene-stealing Darren Barnett, “Never Have I Ever”).

Determined to seize the day and armed with encouragement by her friend/co-worker, Natalie decides to surprise Tag all the way in Lake Placid, New York, for Christmas. You can probably surmise that big surprises are heading Natalie’s way. Tag is not exactly who she thought he was during her flight across the country.

Love Hard Nina Dobrev Natalie Bauer Netflix
Bettina Strauss / Netflix

The Truth Can Be Lovelier Than Fiction

“Tag” is actually Josh, a fellow Lake Placid local, who lives, and works with his family. For all intents and purposes, Josh is Tag, even if Tag is not Josh. Make sense? Stay with me because nothing and everything has changed simultaneously for Natalie and “Love Hard” viewers who have not watched the trailer.

So, is there a chance for Natalie to still make it through Christmas without being single? “Love Hard” cooks up a hilarious pact between Natalie and Josh. The rest is an incredibly watchable, funny, poignant journey that challenges everything Natalie thinks she knows about what true love is.

Love Hard Love Hard James Saito Bob Lin Jimmy O. Yang Josh Lin Netflix
Bettina Strauss / Netflix

Morals and Meaning

“Love Hard” is actually about a lot more than finding romantic love. It is about finding yourself, what you want, and learning to love the family that comes with locating your new love. There is a lot squeezed in here without lying anything on too thick. As Hallmark has shown viewers, Christmas is a time of accelerated love matches.

The usual meet, date, and fall-in-love portion of things can go by very quickly in the holiday hum of movie-dom. So, it is to their credit that Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O. Yang’s authentic and humorous performances make that potential for Natalie and Josh’s ensuing journey genuinely feasible in a relatively brief amount of time. The always impressive Dobrev manages to prove herself as great of a comic actress as she has already proven herself as a dramatic one.

Love Hard Love Hard Nina Dobrev Natalie Bauer Harry Shum Jr. Owen Lin Jimmy O. Yang Josh Lin Netflix
Bettina Strauss / Netflix

Fantastic Performances

Nina Dobrev has an excellent screen partner is Jimmy O. Yang, with whom she shares fizzy chemistry. You would think they had starred in a vampire show for nearly a decade, considering how strong their on-screen bond is and how quickly it develops. Yang’s comic chops are apparent from the jump, and he only impresses more as “Love Hard” continues.

Another MVP in the Netflix movie is the Lin family. They are so lovable. It is impossible not to understand why Natalie would fall for the whole package. “Glee” alum and all-around breakout Harry Shum Jr., who stars in “Love Hard” as Josh’s hilariously underachieving brother. Meanwhile, Josh and his brother’s father (James Saito), mother (Rebecca Staab), and grandmother (Althea Kaye) only add to the lovely recipe.

Love Hard Tag Abbott Darren Barnet Chelsea Lin Mikaela Hoover Netflix
Bettina Strauss / Netflix

What It Says About Online Dating

“Love Hard” is a moral comedy that takes on the realities of online dating and long-distance relationships. As Brad Paisley once sang, we are often “So Much Cooler Online,” or are we? When an edit button or a perfecting filter is only a click away, sometimes people will be too tempted to pull a fast one with the truth.

As someone constantly seeking honesty and who spends a lot of time online, it makes you wonder. Yes, this is the real me (plus a great spell checker). But, do others feel as inclined, to tell the truth? It is a question only a leap of faith can answer. But, there is a lot of truth to what “Love Hard” has to say about that topic.

Love Hard Nina Dobrev Natalie Bauer Jimmy O. Yang Josh Lin Netflix
Bettina Strauss / Netflix

Final Thoughts On Why You Should Watch

Is the internet and online dating a chance for anyone to be their own Cyrano? Yes. Will they necessarily take up the pen to be him? And if the only lie they tell us is about how they physically appear, is that enough to call the entire picture into question? Or “Love Hard” has an interesting answer to these questions.

After unleashing a show, which venerates choosing lust over love and valuing sexual chemistry over all else, “Love Hard” is an exciting way for Netflix to close out 2021. It gives viewers a chance to grapple with what they want for themselves. As another Netflix film pointed out earlier this year (“Haseen Dillruba”), sometimes what we think we want and what we need are two very splendidly different things.

“Love Hard” is currently streaming on Netflix alongside Nina Dobrev’s breakout series, “The Vampire Diaries.” You will not want to miss the actress in dual roles. As for “Love Hard,” it is going to probably be an annual watch.