How ‘Falling for Christmas’ could ignite the Lindsay Lohan renaissance

EW breaks down the unexpected way the star’s new Netflix holiday rom-com could usher in the Lohanaissance for good.

Joey Nolfi

By Joey Nolfi November 11, 2022 at 06:38 PM EST

Falling for Christmas Lindsay Lohan

The Lindsay Lohanaissance — or at least the groundwork laid for it — will be streamed.

Falling for Christmas, which tells the story of an heiress who tumbles off a cliff, gets amnesia, and falls for the man who saves her, might feel like a small step above Hallmark’s annual slate of sappy Yuletide offerings. But the new Netflix rom-com marks an important step for the once-monolithic star who hasn’t led a major motion picture in nearly 10 years.

To understand where Lohan might be headed after Falling for Christmas, it’s important to acknowledge where she’s been. For better or worse, Lohan’s name was synonymous with late-aughts excess; her promising start in Hollywood gave way to a headline-making frenzy of sensationalism, with tabloids turning her party-girl antics into cheap (yet no less satisfying) gossip in post-millennium pop culture. Thanks to her legal troubles (DUIs, mugshots, the works), Lohan’s career took a hit. Gone was the teen actress who lit up red carpets for studios like Disney (The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday) and Paramount (Mean Girls), and in her place was a celebrity known more for paparazzi spectacle than acting prowess.

Lindsay Lohan inside frames in her various roles

The Lindsay Lohan renaissance is upon us.

| Credit: Netflix / Everett Collection

Alongside public woes, Lohan endured an onslaught of rumors that she was difficult to work with, including a 2013 New York Times report about a tumultuous production cycle on Paul Schrader’s indie erotic thriller The Canyons, her last leading part in a significant production before Falling for Christmas. In a poignant exchange recounted in the Times piece, the writer recalls telling Lohan that she still has a gift and shouldn’t squander it. “I know. I’m trying,” she said through tears. “I’m really trying.”

After that, Lohan went a decade without a leading role in a scripted project. Instead, she fronted the 2014 Oprah Winfrey Network docuseries Lindsay, which included her first on-camera interview since leaving rehab. Lohan later told Ellen DeGeneres that the project was “overwhelming and strange” to film, saying that she only agreed to participate so that she could do “anything that felt like work mode, just to have a schedule and be on a routine.” She credited her desire to work as a motivating factor in getting clean. Later, she’d publicly lobby Disney to play Ariel in a Little Mermaid musical and repeatedly expressed her desire to film a Mean Girls sequel.

Eight years (and one additional reality show, 2019’s Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club) later, Lohan is finally back on screen in Falling for Christmas. The role on its own isn’t the finish line — she’s played more fleshed-out characters that, uh, don’t grapple with crazed raccoons — and perhaps it was never intended to be. After filming wrapped, Netflix signaled its desire to continue working with Lohan by inking her to a new, two-picture deal in March. At long last, a major piece of the Hollywood machine was welcoming her back.

Falling For Christmas. (L to R) Lindsay Lohan as Sierra, Chord Overstreet as Jake, Olivia Perez as Avy, Bus Riley as Chestnut Vendor in Falling For Christmas. Cr. Scott Everett White/Netflix © 2022.

Lindsay Lohan and Chord Overstreet in ‘Falling for Christmas’

| Credit: Scott Everett White/Netflix

Earlier this week, Lohan appeared on Good Morning America and told the talk show’s hosts that she “missed being on set” and bringing characters to life. “I took almost a decade off of being on set,” Lohan continued. “When I came back on to set this time, it felt refreshingly exciting again, which I really needed. I wanted to get to the point where I was craving being on set to really be there.”

Does she mean it this time? Netflix seems to think so. But is Falling for Christmas really “the Citizen Kane of Netflix Christmas movies,” as one outlet touted, or perhaps a “Dante’s Inferno-esque allegory,” as another quipped? It doesn’t need to be either to serve its purpose. The only thing it ever needed to be was a stepping stone for the woman at its center, whether she’s en route to more throwaway rom-com bliss at Netflix, or the next Mean Girls with the kind of theatrical studio she commanded in her prime — even if we had to tumble down a snow-swept hill to get there.

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Falling for Christmas Lindsay Lohan

Falling for Christmas

Lindsay Lohan plays a spoiled, newly engaged hotel heiress who — after a nasty skiing accident leaves her with amnesia — falls for a blue-collar lodge owner (Chord Overstreet) just before Christmas.

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