“Love Hard” is a promising start to Netflix’s 2021 Christmas lineup


Photo courtesy of Netflix

Poster for Netflix original “Love Hard.” “Love Hard” is No. 3 on Netflix’s Top 10 in the U.S. list as of Nov. 16, 2021.

Tegan Ruhl, Staff Writer

Step aside Hallmark. Netflix has you beat this year for cheesy Christmas movies. 

Netflix original “Love Hard,” released Nov. 5, 2021, kicks off 2021 Netflix Christmas movies. The romantic comedy follows Natalie (Nina Dobrev), a woman who struggles with finding her perfect match. Natalie writes a column about every terrible date she’s ever been on. Things start to look up for Natalie when she meets her ideal man Josh (Jimmy O. Yang) on a dating app. 

After connecting online with Josh for two weeks, Natalie decides to fly across the country to surprise him for Christmas only to discover she’s been catfished. Understandably upset, Natalie is about to leave when Josh says he can set her up with the guy he was posing as, Tag (Darren Barnet). In exchange, Natalie must pretend to be his girlfriend at his family Christmas. 

My expectations for “Love Hard” were low. I am not a fan of romantic comedies, and the endings are always so predictable. Regardless, I ended up liking “Love Hard” more than I expected to. 

The movie did not always follow the cliché rom-com plot. First, there were some moments in “Love Hard” that actually made me laugh. It wasn’t laughter at the cheesiness of the movie, but I thought the comedic relief was actually funny. Considering all of the bad rom-coms produced, this was a shocker to me. 

I also thought the movie did a good job of showing how hard love can be sometimes. Natalie and Josh have both struggled with finding someone for a long time. 

Natalie has fortunately made a job out of her failed love life while Josh receives pity from his family. I discovered life is especially hard for Josh since he has always been in the shadow of his center of attention brother Owen (Harry Shum Jr.), who always makes Josh’s failures apparent. 

“Love Hard” sends viewers the message it’s okay if you haven’t found the one because a lot people haven’t found their match yet either. The plot is wholesome, and of course, the movie has a happy ending. 

Even though it’s November, I am already so excited for Christmas, and “Love Hard” properly put me in the Christmas mood. From abundantly decorated houses to the Christmas karaoke, you’ll be in the holiday spirit in no time.

I also liked the believable dialogue in the movie, including the blunt nature of Josh’s parents Barb (Rebecca Staab) and Bob (James Saito). Most of all, I loved Josh’s grandma Lin (Takayo Fischer). She greatly embodies the kind of grandparent who asks all the inappropriate questions at the wrong times, and it’s so cringy you can’t help but laugh. 

Of course, I cannot forget to mention Natalie and Josh’s characters. I love how the two of them understand each other through their struggles of dating and maintaining relationships. It makes their new found friendship more wholesome and cute. 

Overall, “Love Hard” was not the terrible rom-com I expected it to be. However, because of the cheesy plot line and comedy, I would give this movie a 3 out of 5. 

If you’re looking for an impactful movie that will change your perception of love, then this movie is not for you. However, if you’re looking for a cheesy Christmas movie to watch just for fun or for background noise, I highly recommend watching “Love Hard.” 

2021 Netflix Christmas movies available for streaming: 

  • “Love Hard” 
  • “Father Christmas is Back” 
  • “The Claus Family”
  •  “The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star” 

Upcoming release dates for 2021 Netflix Christmas movies: 

  • Nov. 24 – “Robin Robin” 
  • Nov. 24 – “A Boy Called Christmas” 
  • Nov. 26 – “A Castle for Christmas” 
  • Dec. 2 – “Single All the Way” 
  • Dec. 6 – “David and the Elves” 
  • Dec. 16 – “A California Christmas: City Lights” 
  • Dec. 22 – “Grumpy Christmas” 
  • Dec. 24 – “1000 Miles from Christmas”