When it was announced in the fall of 2021 that Lindsay Lohan would be headlining a Christmas movie for Netflix, it caused quite a stir. Falling for Christmas would be the first mainstream film the actress starred in since her abrupt departure from Hollywood in 2013, following many headline-grabbing incidents and notorious on-set behaviors. How would a Hallmark-Esque holiday movie work with Lohan’s image? In a great example of life imitating art, the movie helps audiences forget the party-hard Lohan and enjoy the more wholesome comedic actress that grew to fame in the Disney machine of family-friendly flicks.
Sierra Belmont (Lohan) is the heiress to a hotel owner and rarely does anything for herself. After a skiing accident with her unaware influencer fiancé (George Young), Sierra winds up with amnesia under the care of Jake Russell (Chord Overstreet) and his adorable daughter Avy (Olivia Perez) at the bed and breakfast he owns. Unaware of her identity and eager to help those taking care of her, Sierra learns more than just the meaning of Christmas.
The story is not complex, nor is it particularly original. Instead, it fits cozily into the typical kind of holiday niche Hallmark carved out years ago, and the other streamers have rushed to fill it with their feel-good content. If you have seen any of these films from this genre, you know what to expect story-wise.
What makes Falling for Christmas particularly enjoyable is the cast. Lohan turns on the charm and reminds audiences why she was popular in the early to mid-2000s. She brings an understated zealousness to the role that it is hard to determine if you are pulling for her character’s redemption or her own. Young, meanwhile, is over the top in his first broad comedic role. Though shallow and purposely unlikeable, his jaunt with a rugged fisherman brings some laughs. Overstreet, on the other hand, plays his role completely straight and fails to make his character memorable. However, this does not fall on the actor. The writers try too hard to make him the “perfect leading man” that he has very little to work with to give the character depth.
This is director Janeen Damian’s feature debut. While serviceable, there is nothing overly remarkable to set this apart from any other Christmas-related flicks she has previously produced. The producing experience served her well in creating a clear vision for the film, but more restraint would have helped pacing, which sags slightly through the second act leading to a rushed act three.
Ultimately, Falling for Christmas is a middle-of-the-lane holiday treat that seems wholly familiar. It is unlikely to become a classic but is notable for allowing Lohan to stage the start of her comeback. She brings warmth and sincerity to her role. While the film struggles with pacing and characterization, target audiences are unlikely to care much as the film succeeds at providing a warm story for the holiday season.