Netflix’s foray into peppermint-flavored romance, Falling for Christmas, is just about as good as you would imagine. This is to say, it’s fine, like the Hallmark holiday movies it imitates: it hits its beats, has a musical moment or two, and pulls together a semblance of a love story, through some workmanlike acting. Though the pacing could use a little work, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie, mostly because of one actor in particular: Hollywood’s at once beloved and hated former Mean Girl, Lindsay Lohan.
As a zillennial who grew up within the target age demographic for Lohan’s films, I love Lindsay Lohan! She starred in some of the most formative films of my youth. I’ll never forget her sneaking out to have a raucous night in New York City in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004). Or when she moonlighted as an incredibly angsty teenage girl who aspired to become a famous rock guitarist in Freaky Friday (2003). Her Freaky Friday performance (both on-screen and on the soundtrack) was so iconic, today’s bands-to-watch are covering the songs. Not enough people mention her role as a PR rep who had practically never faced adversity in the romcom Just My Luck (2006). And, of course, we’ll always have her iconic rise to high school fame in Mean Girls (2004).
As I was growing up, so, too, was Lindsay Lohan, my on-screen companion. She made the process seem fun and whimsical, full of adventure and one-in-a-million experiences, like finding your long-lost twin or becoming friends with your favorite pop star. It’s no secret that life never really returned her the favor. Lohan aged into the troubles we’ve come to expect of an incredibly successful child actor. She has suffered many falls from grace, which have been overly documented via insanely invasive paparazzi and, later, her own increasingly WTF social media presence.
If you check her IMDB, you’ll see that despite all of this life drama, she’s gotten work consistently—even if that work has been of uneven quality. I’m not the first one to maintain that Lindsay Lohan is good at what she does. But this new Netflix Christmas movie is making me suspect that Hollywood doesn’t trust her enough to really help her show it. Lindsay Lohan is 36 now, almost two decades older than she was when she was tormenting Regina George in 2004 or when she was impulsively trying to prove her worth as the youngest race car driver in her family in 2005. And now, in the year of our lord 2022, Netflix still has Lohan in a familiar role that moves her from naïve to slightly less so.
In Falling for Christmas, Lindsay Lohan plays Sierra Belmont, a hotel heiress who has never worked a day in her life, doesn’t know how to make a bed or flip a pancake, and is generally rude and dismissive of anyone who tries to take care of her. (A classic urbanite, in the Hallmark Christmas vein.) That is, until she bonks her head in a skiing accident, loses her memory, and is saved by the more humble small-towner Jake Russell (Glee’s Chord Overstreet) who owns a modest BnB. (Yes, it’s one of those plots.) Russell takes her in while she recoups and tries to find herself again. Naturally, the two fall in love. And, as it goes with this trope, Sierra learns how to make a bed, do laundry, and socially grow up into a respectful, salt-of-the-earth adult.
I’m sorry, but—this is the same exact thing Lindsay has been doing since before I was old enough to be doing my own laundry. Though she’s tried to diversify her repertoire, in all of the aforementioned movies—and even some I haven’t mentioned yet—Lohan’s character starts out the same: a bratty teenager who comes of age and learns how to respect her elders, take care of herself, and fall in love with some handsome Average White Guy™ while doing it. And now, she’s just a bratty adult doing the same thing?
Make no mistake, Lindsay Lohan is good in Falling for Christmas. But I want to see a romcom featuring a 36-year-old Lindsay. Give me a Lindsay who drinks humongous glasses of wine with her twice-divorced gal pals, complaining about rent in New York City. I want to see a Lindsay who starts off as a self-sufficient adult, and struggles with love—not only because she is messy, but also because life is messy and Tinder sucks. I want her to have a job that doesn’t put her in the one percent, but a job she’s overly dedicated to, nonetheless. Where is the fall foliage? Where is the scene where the guy realizes not only that he loves her, but that she’s better than anyone else he’s ever dated? Where, pray tell, is the annoying yet caring boss? I want her to go to the Meg Ryan school of rom-coms. I’m growing up—can’t Lohan come along?