I know it’s late (or way early depending on how you want to look at it) to talk about holiday movies, but who doesn’t want a distraction right now? Why not revisit “the most wonderful time of the year” and escape briefly from the darkness and depravity we see on our phones. Retreat with me to Hernán Jiménez’s 2021 romcom “Love Hard.” Written by Danny Mackey and Rebecca Ewing, this silly, delightful film has stayed with me, and not just for its memorable Meatloaf karaoke scene. “Love Hard” has a lot of simple yet poignant truths that are relatable in most romantic relationship.
Natalie Bauer (Nina Dobrev) is an attractive, shallow L.A. girl looking for love and having no luck using dating apps. It’s one flop after another – until she finds Josh in Lake Placid, New York. He’s handsome, funny, clever, romantic, sweet…everything she’s been looking for.
Is it too good to be true?
Unfortunately, yes. Josh catfished her. Who she thought was a good-looking, athletic, bearded Caucasian turned out to be a short 30-year-old Asian guy with long hair and absurdly wide-framed glasses. Natalie, whose job is blogging about disaster dates, does not take this well. The attractive guy she was hoping for happens to be Josh’s friend, Tag (Darren Barnet), so she goes for him, and Josh helps as long as she promises to be his girlfriend until after Christmas. You can imagine how this gets complicated.
There are some real Hallmark moments, and the ending is pretty predictable, but “Love Hard” drives home an important message of how critical it is in a relationship to be true to yourself and to your partner.
“Love doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be honest,” Josh says.
This is a simple statement packed with truth that goes far beyond dating apps. First, we have to be honest about what we’re wanting, and, when we get into a relationship, we have to be truthful about who we are. We need to be honest about who we’ve been and have to work on our flaws. It’s not easy to be in a relationship. It’s not easy to be with someone and share all our imperfections. It’s not easy to agree on things, to compromise, to make it all work, but it’s worth the battle. And, if we’re honest with ourselves and honest with our partners, we can make it through. There must be trust. When it’s lost it’s hard to regain, but it can be done. The partner who was not trustworthy must prove themselves worthy. This takes time and intention. It takes practice, but if the love is true, the love can survive.
Be honest to yourself and your partner, and add “Love Hard” to your Netflix watchlist.