Written by Samantha Bergeson, IndieWire
National treasure Jennifer Lopez gave an Oscar-worthy performance in the exotic dancer true crime drama “Hustlers” in 2019. In 2022, Lindsay Lohan gives her career-best work in years with the holiday rom-com “Falling for Christmas.”
As a lifelong Lohan fan whose childhood was marked by watching two Lindsays in “Parent Trap,” forcing my mom to see “Freaky Friday” to understand my plight of being an 8-year-old, and dreaming of moving to New York after watching the “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” DVD nonstop, I have wanted to believe in the Lohan-aissance. Like Santa Claus, the idea of icon Lindsay Lohan coming back on top in Hollywood seemed like the stuff of a Christmas miracle. Well, “Falling for Christmas” proves that every Lohan fan’s holiday wish has come true.
“Falling for Christmas” has a simple enough plot: Lohan plays Sierra, a hotel heiress (think Paris Hilton meets Lohan Beach Club) with a heart of gold and a wardrobe of jewel tones. After a proposal from her influencer beau (George Young) leads to a would-be fatal skiing accident, an unconscious Sierra is saved by local bed-and-breakfast owner and single father Jake (Chord Overstreet), who was just turned down by Sierra’s mogul father (Jack Wagner) for a loan.
Sierra has amnesia, takes on the name Sarah, and bonds with Jake’s daughter (Olivia Perez) and endearing mother-in-law (Alejandra Flores) while reminding everyone of the true meaning of Christmas. It’s “Overboard” without the 1987 questionable sexual politics and far superior to the 2018 remake with Anna Faris and Eva Longoria.
Lohan, who also executive produced the Netflix film under her multi-picture deal with the streamer, absolutely owns the film, with “Glee” alum Overstreet a worthy counterpart and a generous scene partner. Within the first minute of the movie, Lohan as Sierra has a slo-mo entrance complete with the ideal après-ski attire fit for an heiress. Sierra is the epitome of luxury, and Lohan is the epitome of timelessness.
A 30something, Sierra still calls her billionaire father Beauregard “Daddy” (less cringe than Ana de Armas purring the same in “Blonde”) and doesn’t know how to make a bed. She hopes to find her own way outside of her last name’s legacy instead of just taking on the made-up role of “Vice President of Atmosphere” at the Belmont Lodge, and it’s easy to see the comparisons between Sierra’s snow-covered hotel and Lohan’s sand-filled Mykonos resort. Sierra even sings along to the radio with “Jingle Bell Rock” (cue the “Mean Girls” callback) when her boyfriend Tad disses her vocal chops as “pitchy.” (Lohan released her version of the Christmas classic ahead of the film’s premiere.)
Lohan is just fine with self-deprecating quips at her expense and looking silly while getting messy by way of physical comedy involving toilets, raccoons, and the aforementioned ski accident. Lohan shines in these moments, and the blooper reel in the credits shows that shine even extended to the set.
There are Netflix nods, like Sierra awakened by a jarring Scottish jig from the trailer for Brooke Shields’ 2021 holiday rom-com “A Castle for Christmas.” Let’s be clear: “Falling for Christmas” is one rung above a Hallmark Christmas movie. But it’s simultaneously a Christmas gem on Netflix, with Overstreet and Wagner, plus a delightfully over-the-top Young and a heartfelt Flores, matching Lohan’s convincing performance. Regarding the smaller supporting roles, the movie is a little flimsy and made-for-TV cable-esque. But it’s Christmas (soon), and all is forgiven.
Why would this small town not know the famous daughter of the biggest local employer and quickly realize Sarah is Sierra? Why wouldn’t there be more of a search if Sierra is missing for almost a week? It doesn’t matter. Truly. Because when Lohan delivers the line, “What type of breakfast?!” when debating whether to leave the hospital with Jake and go to his quaint North Star lodge, it’s all worth it. Lohan is the film’s North Star, and we’ll follow her wherever she goes.
Is “Falling for Christmas” Lohan’s “Citizen Kane”? Well, as Sierra, the daughter of a widower grappling with her past, present, and future at the holidays, and plenty of sleds courtesy of a Botox’ed Santa stand-in, it’s clear this is Lohan’s best work in decades. Even Sierra has her own rosebud, a Christmas snow globe, to call back to. The ending of “Falling for Christmas” is pure “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and how wonderful it is that Lohan is back in Hollywood, just in time for the holidays. The film was edited by Scott Hill, ACE.