If you, like me, spent your entire day Wednesday and Thursday refreshing Twitter to see if Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) lost her House seat (still waiting), may I recommend a fluffy little Christmas rom-com to ease your tired mind?
On Thursday, Lindsay Lohan made her triumphant return to movies with Netflix’s holiday rom-com, Falling For Christmas. To use a phrase that Lohan’s fan demographic of millennial women would best understand, the actor’s Jupiter sign must be Capricorn in the 10th house, because her career is heating up! For fans like me who grew up watching the red-headed star steal the screen in cult classics like The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, and Mean Girls, Lohan’s reappearance as a leading lady feels overdue.
Falling For Christmas is a saccharine holiday movie that hits all the right notes of an incredibly easy song to sing. Does “Jingle Bells” become less enjoyable just because a baby can sing it? No! Is Jake (played by Chord Overstreet—insane name but fitting for someone who was last seen on Glee) a widow? Of course. Does he have a daughter, Avy (Olivia Monet Perez), so commercially beautiful her face drops me into the uncanny valley? Yes. Is this rural northern ski resort town as diverse as the U.N.? Oui. Does Jake keep a haunted Christmas angel in his desk drawer because it reminds him of his late wife? Would it be a movie vaguely about the magic of Christmas if he didn’t?
Both critics and fans alike seem to be welcoming Lohan back with enthusiasm—arguably too much enthusiasm. IndieWire, although jokingly, compared Falling For Christmas to Citizen Kane. But I get it! I wasn’t so much concerned with whether this movie was “good” as I was just excited to witness the return of the prodigal daughter. And for what it was, charming cellophane candy cane cinema, Falling For Christmas is great! I laughed. I felt delighted. I could fold my clean laundry and text back my friends while still easily following along with every single thing happening. Films like that matter, too.
Sierra (Lohan) is a glammed-out hotel heiress, (for any film buff reading between the lines, one can’t ignore the nod to Lohan’s former friend Paris Hilton), whose concerned father appoints her as Director of Atmosphere of the resorts—a fluff position to hopefully give her life more direction. Well, one direction she heads in is DOWN. Literally. When her social media-obsessed boyfriend Tad (George Young) proposes to her on the top of a mountain, a gust of wind pushes her off the peak. In the first of what will be many slapstick routines, Sierra tumbles down to the mountain and hits her head. At this point I was thinking to myself, “Not so funny, that’s how Sonny Bono died.”
Who finds her concussed body? Jake, of course, the hot nearby lodge owner. When it’s confirmed that Sierra has, unfortunately, hit the part of her head that brings you Eternal Sunshine-level memory loss, Jake offers to take her into his struggling-but-enchanting ski lodge. The real question is, of course, does he have room for her...in his heart? Sierra, who now goes by Avy’s stuffed animal’s name, Sarah, must reckon with her own usefulness in life. She eventually learns how to make a bed, eat bacon, and flip pancakes—you know, the simple things. But she isn’t the only one with apparent memory loss: It seems none of her familiars back at the fancy ski lodge remember that she ever existed. It isn’t until an hour into the movie that her father learns she’s missing, and we see the faintest glint of Liam Neeson’s spirit in Taken glitter in his eye.
Lohan is delightful throughout the flick. Her mouth is sort of stuck in a gleeful smile save for the few times it’s puckered in confusion (re: no memory) and it’s a pleasure to observe. There is obviously nothing challenging about the movie or its genre, but it seems like the perfect gentle nudge back into full-time acting for a once-beloved childhood star who’s seen her fair share of personal drama in the last decade. Win or lose (this film will not win any awards), what matters is that Lohan looks like she’s having a lot of fun.
Of course, in the end (SPOILER ALERT), Sarah/Sierra’s memory returns, and so do her senses. She ditches Tad and chooses Jake. Tad is mostly unfazed, and I, personally, hope he goes on to explore the homoerotic undertones his character waded into throughout the movie. Jake’s ski lodge is saved from the brink of bankruptcy by the compassionate and diverse ski town locals. Hopefully, he learns his lesson that he ought to charge people to stay at the lodge and for ski lessons.
It’s the happy ending we all wanted, and, similar to Lohan’s personal narrative arch, the threat of it not coming together makes us root for it even harder.