Love’s a swipe away

Netflix’s new romantic comedy Love Hard tries too hard, but is full of Christmas vibes

“…Just one thing everybody wants. There in the bars, and through the smokescreen of the crowded restaurants – It’s love. Yes, all we’re looking for is love from someone else.” These achingly beautiful lyrics from the Oscar-winning musical drama La La Land pretty much sums up how most of us feels, or wants. And in an age, where everything is just a click away – love too seems to be only a swipe away!

In the age of dating apps, where all of us are looking for love, or companionship – be it momentary or long-term – the whole idea of dating or love has acquired a new meaning. To some, online dating may appear frivolous – yet to others, this may seem like the ideal set-up to find their perfect match, or their happy ending.

Netflix’s new movie Love Hard explores this concept of digital dating and its perks, on the backdrop of a Christmas holiday. Directed by Hernan Jimenez, the film stars Nina Dobrev, Darren Barnet and Jimmy O Yang.

The film begins with a focus on how the protagonist Natalie – a 30 something writer – is unlucky in love, or so she thinks or believes. Her numerous attempts to find love via a dating app goes wrong – so much so, that her dating disasters had turned her given her a successful career as she chronicles her series of bad dates in a media outlet’s column.

However, things take a wild turn as she decides to take a plunge by going to surprise her online connection on Christmas, and flies 3,000 miles to do so! But all her efforts go vain when she realizes how a geeky guy Josh (played by Yang) had catfished her, using the images of a handsome man Tag (Barnet). Yet, Natalie decides to stay and fight for her happily ever after by wooing Tag, with Josh’s help – just like in any other true-blue Hollywood romcom.

Love Hard tries too hard to make people believe that ‘love should not be perfect, just honest.’ This concept or message that the film tries to convey is a beautiful one and comes across well. But it has too many cliches. (*Spoilers ahead) The biggest of which is how the protagonist attempts to get the “hot guy”, but ends up falling for the “geeky” one. And that too, such an ending is predictable from the onset of the movie.

The scenes where Natalie gets to be a part of Josh’s family during Christmas (as she poses as his girlfriend – which was a part of their deal) and forges an emotional bond with them were sweet, but forgettable. In fact, the entire film lacks any solid moment or scene that stays with you after it’s over.

The lack of chemistry between the leads – Natalie and Josh – also might be a big turn off for the audience. Tag, played by Netflix series Never Have I Ever famed Barnet, has a newfound fanbase who also might be a little disappointed by this stint of his. His character in the film did not have any depth, nor any shades. In fact, none of these three characters were given much thought to it or any backstory and thus, one might find it hard to relate. Moreover, we often get the ‘old wine in a new bottle’ feeling while watching it.

Apart from these, the good thing about Love Hard is how it depicts family values, the pros and cons of online dating or dating apps and the holiday or Christmas vibes it exudes. Also, the way it bashes toxic masculinity is commendable. It also depicts the challenges a person who isn’t conventionally good looking or smart, but has a good heart. Yet the world of dating, especially online one, can get mean and judgmental for them.  However, all in all it is a good one-time watch. To sum up, it’s a wannabe romcom with a forgettable storyline but has a feel-good factor which might make you count days for Christmas to arrive!

(Cover: ‘Love Hard’ movie poster)

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