My kids and I have been really enjoying watching what we call the ‘Bad Christmas Movies’ on Netflix lately. We call them this because they’re not usually up to the standard of the so-called ‘Good Christmas Movies’ not featured on Netflix, like WHITE CHRISTMAS, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, etc., but also because some of them are pretty awful.

That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t some bright little gems in there too, sparkling away happily under all the dross. Your Honour (pompously, of course), if it please the Court, I find LOVE HARD to be one such movie.

It’s called LOVE HARD on account of the two Christmas movies discussed and referenced by the protagonists in it: LOVE ACTUALLY and DIE HARD. Yes, according to the lead girl, DIE HARD is a Christmas film, so either state your case for the opposing view or get over it, lol. It’s probably better, too, that they went with LOVE HARD for the title of the movie, as its alternative, DIE ACTUALLY, isn’t as festive. Ahem.

Anyway, to the plot. Natalie Bauer is a modern girl-about-town who lives in Los Angeles and writes about her bad dates and train-wreck romantic life for a dating app. The readers lap it up. The more disastrous the date, the better they like it, the ghouls. But then, one day, Natalie starts an online relationship with Josh, 30, from Lake Placid, New York, based mainly on his photo, which portrays him as a hunk…

Their online relationship becomes super-hot, very fast. He makes her laugh, he reads her to sleep, he’s there for her- via this app, of course- when she wakes up in the morning and when she goes to sleep at night. Natalie’s in love. Crazy in love. So, when Josh casually remarks that he wishes they were together for the upcoming Christmas, Natalie mulls it over- for, like, a second- then hops on a plane to New York to surprise him…

It’s Natalie who gets the biggest surprise. Josh has apparently ‘catfished’ her, meaning that he’s used a photograph that’s not of himself to attract her to him online. The real Josh falls down in the looks department, and Natalie is devastated. Still, she’s the one who flew 3,000 miles to ‘surprise’ a stranger, so who is she to grumble…?

She livens up, however, when she meets Tag, the man whose photo Josh has used to ‘catfish’ her. Tag is a real man who actually exists, in fact he’s a friend of Josh’s, and Natalie totally falls for him, again based purely on his looks. The dorky Josh, who still lives in his parents’ basement, works in their ‘outdoors gear’ store, which he hates, and has lived a fairly girlfriend-free existence thus far, makes a bargain with her.

If she stays with him for Christmas and pretends to be his girlfriend in front of his family, he will fill her in on Tag’s interests and hobbies and, basically, get her noticed by Tag and even get her going out with him, which is what Natalie thinks she wants.

Natalie agrees to Josh’s zany scheme, but only because she fancies Tag so much. But does she really want what she thinks she wants? And, even if she does, should she get it? Fate might have other plans for the desperate dater…

The funniest scenes? The hilarious karaoke session in the pub (‘and I would anything for love, but I won’t do that…!’) and the Lin family carol-singing expedition, in which Josh’s patronising older brother Owen attempts to steal the limelight- yet again- with his show-boating.

Owen has always loved lording it over Josh with his lovely wife and his handsome good looks, so, when underdog Josh has a chance to come first in their parents’ eyes for a change, we’re all totally rooting for him.

I was happy with the ending. At first, I was afraid that Nat would get with Tag and a dorky female with poor social skills and braces on her teeth might be rolled in for Josh. That would have made me so darned mad, with its outmoded stereotyping message.

Good-looking people should get with other good-looking people. Dorks and so-called ‘losers’ should only marry other dorks, etc. But why shouldn’t the dork, for once, get the girl? Why shouldn’t opposites attract, for once, or the lead girl decide that she’s looking for something more than just vapid good looks for a change?

And why the dickens should anyone, male or female, have to change themselves and pretend to be someone they’re not, pretend to like stuff they’re not into, just in order to bag a boyfriend or a girlfriend? Good on this film for not ending in the obvious way, and sorry if I’ve just completely spoiled the ending for you, lol.

By the way, is DIE HARD a Christmas movie? The answer is, apparently, Yippee Ki Yay, m*therf*cker…


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

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