Christmas is usually the time when you bond and celebrate with family. As you get older, the expectations of your relatives change throughout the years. When you’re in your 20s and don’t bring a plus one to the gathering, that’s when some of them pry into your relationship status.
When you watch Love Hard, director Hernán Jiméne shows the lengths that someone would go through just to introduce someone during the holidays.
The film follows Natalie Bauer (Nina Dobrev), a disaster date writer for an online website who hides behind her pseudonym ‘Always a Bridesmaid’. Her boss thrives on her string of unfortunate dates until she met Josh, a guy she matched with on a dating app. He had the too-good-to-be-true type of qualities that instantly made her swipe on him.
Both of them frequently exchanged messages and talked on the phone for hours. Josh proudly names Love, Actually as his fave Christmas film, while Natalie’s was Die Hard. You’ll hear her defend an interesting reason behind her choice.
Everything sounds flat-out ordinary, but let’s dive into the moment where things went south. Natalie flew 3,000 miles from Los Angeles to New York to surprise Josh for Christmas, but it turns out that she got catfished. The guy she really matched with was Josh Lin (Jimmy O. Yang), a 30-year-old who looks nothing like the guy she thought she was talking to.
There’s no excuse for catfishing
The Netflix film has a way of lightening up the mood of its viewers as it quickly resolves how Natalie has been deceived to proceed with the plot. However, it shouldn’t overstep the more alarming issue: catfishing.
Josh came clean to Natalie and offered to introduce her to the “real” Josh a.k.a. Tag (Darren Barnet), who happens to be his childhood friend. After she heard the truth, you’d sense the confusion and frustration that she felt. Pretending to be someone else could be mentally damaging to the victim. It’s also a sick move to consider doing in the first place.
While being catfished is something that could happen when dating online, what happened to Natalie and Josh must remain in the movie. The two of them had an absurd deal that entices you to see how it’s going to end.
Josh asked Natalie to be his pseudo girlfriend for Christmas to impress his family and he would help her get with Tag. If this moment occurred in the real world, the best thing to do is swipe right IRL a.k.a. run away asap. But no, Natalie agreed.
How Not to Impress Your Family for Dummies
There will always be that sibling who wants to be the center of attention. In the movie, it’s Josh’s older and cooler brother Owen (Harry Shum Jr.). But for this Christmas season, Josh’s idea of outshining him is by introducing Natalie. Not only that, but he also fake-proposed to her, which made things more complicated.
Getting married or being in a relationship isn’t a competition. Come on guys, it’s 2021. There’s no rule that you should be tied to someone by a certain age or let alone by the end of the year. There’s more to life than just introducing someone to your family, and anything that requires you to lie would never be a temporary solution to impress them.
There should be other aspects in your life that you’re proud to talk about like a thriving career or maybe sharing your advocacy. But that’s what Josh has been missing, and Natalie helped him uncover a secret hobby-turned-business plan during their play pretend relationship.
You can’t settle for a made-up version of someone
Natalie’s mission to win over Tag wasn’t bound to work out. The signs from the beginning were all pointing in the wrong direction. They don’t have the same interests that would get each other hooked. Even if they were attracted to each other, it wasn’t enough for her to hold on to since she’s looking for something real.
Natalie fell for the version of Tag that Josh fictionally created in the dating app. It’s true when they say that you can’t have it all. Everyone has a set of dealbreakers that would cause them to back out of a relationship, but the film points out that good looks won’t always capture the heart.
After realizing who she truly wanted, Natalie ended up asking Josh for a second chance. As expected, the two ended up together. Although when you circle back to the catfishing issue, it can still sound pretty problematic.
Love Hard shows the modern way of how people can form relationships in this day and age. Using dating apps isn’t something new to Gen-Z and Millennials. The film also touches on possible deceptions in the digital world, and how it won’t be as forgivable as the movie presents it to be.
Whether you’re looking for ‘The One’ or just trying to meet people online, it’s best to follow the good ol’ advice: just be yourself.
Banner by Alyssa T. Hernandez