Starring: Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, Darren Barnet
Director: Hernán Jiménez
Running Time: 105 mins
Love Hard is an American film about a woman rueing her endless string of disaster dates who finally finds the right man over the internet, and flies to his hometown to surprise him for Christmas. However, it turns out that he’s not the man she thought she had fallen in love with.
As cheesy as it all may sound, I really liked this movie. Love Hard – a portmanteau of its two main characters’ favourite Christmas movies, Love Actually and Die Hard – may seem like just another festive flick piggybacking off the legacy of other films. However, it’s actually a well-written, uplifting, charming and above all wonderfully cosy Christmas rom-com that I couldn’t help but love.
Of course, you’ve seen a thousand movies like Love Hard before. A couple end up meeting during the festive season, and they then put their differences aside as they put on a charade in front of the family as the holiday approaches. Cue a variety of hijinks, mishaps and heartwarming moments set against impossibly snowy and nicely-decorated backdrops.
But while being as generic as that means that Love Hard can’t be the best film of all time, the fact that it pulls off all of those tropes in such genuinely entertaining fashion makes it an effortlessly charming watch throughout. Sure, it’s cheesy and predictable, but the film knows that, and it also knows that you as the viewer take great comfort in a light, easy film that doesn’t push your expectations beyond the boundaries.
With that, Love Hard sets itself up early on as a perfectly fluffy festive film to sit back and enjoy, and fulfils all of your expectations right to the very finish. Nina Dobrev is a really lovable, often enjoyably ditzy lead, while Jimmy O. Yang impresses as an awkward but also equally likable love interest. What’s more, the pair work like dynamite together, and despite all of their totally avoidable mishaps, you absolutely root for them throughout.
Particularly with a seemingly difficult group of family and friends, Love Hard manages to shirk the typical and rather boring reliance on Christmastime bickering and conflict by bringing out the comedy and farce in the holiday, always trying to make you laugh and smile, even if it comes at the expense of a bit more sense from the characters – particularly a seemingly level-headed Nina Dobrev in a manic final act.
As such, there’s little to dislike about Love Hard. Sure, if you can’t bear schmaltzy rom-coms or cheesy Christmas movies, then it might be a little bit too sweet for your liking. But if you’re looking for a fluffy, cosy and heartwarming movie that’s full of laughs, fun personalities and light-hearted hijinks, then this absolutely fits the bill. And that’s why I’m giving Love Hard a 7.6 overall.