Love Hard

Swipe right for the lies

REVIEWED BY Ashwini Vethakan

As if millennials and boomers didn’t find it difficult enough to navigate the world filled with double taps and angry emojis, they now need to learn how to swipe right to find ‘the one.’ Those out there who are currently looking for their soulmate online know exactly what we’re talking about.

It’s a path taken on warily as we discover the meaning of new words such as ‘catfishing’ and ‘booty calls.’

Film director Hernán Jiménez’s most recent romantic comedy pays tribute to the world’s rat race for love in Love Hard. The film stars Vampire Diaries’ alum Nina Dobrev in the leading role as Jiménez narrates a story that we’re sadly all too familiar with.

Meet Natalie who is a newspaper columnist whose editor feeds off the young woman’s dire love life and horrible first dates. As she contemplates deleting her dating apps and forgetting about her quest for ‘the one,’ Natalie’s best friend suggests broadening her location on the apps and searching for love in neighbouring states.

Lo and behold, Natalie finds a match when she swipes right. Josh is a character with the face of Darren Barnet. The two seamlessly hit it off like strangers on the internet do in 2022 and Natalie finds herself slowly falling for a man she’s never met.

Now you know how pillow talk gets us thinking the next morning…?

Well, Josh may have mentioned how he wishes Natalie was with him for Christmas and our naïve character decides that the holidays may be the perfect time to meet in real life.

Without allowing herself time to second-guess this rash and impulsive decision, Natalie hops on a flight from Los Angeles and flies to New York City, eager to surprise Josh – the man who could be the love of her life.

Unfortunately, once Natalie arrives at his door, she finds out to her utter embarrassment that she’s been a victim of online catfishing. Instead of meeting Darren Barnet, she finds that Jimmy O. Yang is the real Josh.

Josh is also naturally quite upset by this turn of events and in an attempt to fix his silly online ruse, he promises to set Natalie up with the actual person he was impersonating…

It turns out it was his childhood friend Tag.

The film takes on two very different plots in one go: There’s Natalie, who decides to pretend to be Josh’s girlfriend for the holidays in order to ease some of the Asian inspired stress and expectations that have been placed on his shoulders. But all the while, she is trying to make Tag fall for her.

Indeed, the movie started perfectly well and was heading in the right direction until Dobrev lands in the Big Apple. It’s at this point that one wonders whether the writers were suddenly switched… or if they simply became lazy.

Don’t get us wrong, there are a few scenes that try very hard to salvage the movie – such as when they reenact a scene from Love Actually. And there is a good message we could get out to gens Z and Alpha such as beauty is not what’s on the outside but what’s on the inside too.

Love Hard could have had it all with a good set of actors and a strong message. However, it’s the lazy writing that eventually kills the movie. It’s ironic how the trailer of the film ended up fooling us into thinking this film could have been something more!

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