Why Do Christmas Movies Reward Toxic Men?

This year, the first seasonal movie I watched was one of Netflix’s newest Christmas rom-coms, Love Hard. It follows Natalie (Nina Dobrev), who travels 3,000 miles across America just before Christmas to surprise the man she has been virtually dating for the past few weeks. The twist? When she arrives, she realizes that Josh (Jimmy O. Yang), her long-distance lover, has catfished her. Love Hard has so many of the things you want from a Christmas film: two very good-looking stars, an unsuspecting love interest, great one-liners. I mean, the protagonists even sing a version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” that unpacks its misogynistic undertones. But when the film was over, I was left with a strange, unsatisfied feeling. It ends (and let me insert a hugely predictable *spoiler alert* here) with Josh and Natalie falling in love as she dismisses his identity fraud as though it were a silly argument about what to have for dinner.

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