Falling for Christmas (2022)
Director: Janeen Damian
Writers: Jeff Bonnett, Ron Oliver
Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Chord Overstreet, George Young
A spoiled rotten heiress falls (quite literally) for a down-on-his-luck small business owner, a case of amnesia results in a charming shift in perspective, a social media-obsessed boyfriend snaps a #selfie instead of breathing in the Christmas spirit. Maybe Falling for Christmas sounds like a laundry list of clichés, but tireless dedication to nostalgia sets it apart from other holiday rom-coms.
Netflix’s 2022 take on the Hallmark Christmas movie stars Lindsay Lohan as Sierra Belmont, a Paris Hilton-esque heir to a profitable ski resort, and Chord Overstreet as Jake Russell, the owner of the rinky-dink ski lodge next door. After Sierra and her insufferable fiancé Tad (George Young) take a tumble off a mountain, Sierra loses her memory and must recover at Jake’s modest abode. Quickly, Sierra realizes that the simple life might not be that bad and sets about helping Jake save his cherished ski lodge.
Though the plot is ripped straight from the made-for-tv handbook, Falling For Christmas allures with Lohan’s much anticipated return to the screen after a decade-long hiatus. Known for her roles in iconic teen flicks like Mean Girls and Freaky Friday, this film ushers in a mature career-turning path for the one-time child star.
Certainly, Lohan and Overstreet are the centerpieces of the film. They deliver charismatic performances, even if the script doesn’t call for the acting challenge of the century. Lohan is a certified mean girl professional and she serves the bratty entitlement we’ve come to expect from her characters. Her transformation into a kind, bed-making woman isn’t breaking new ground, but it’s the morsel of sweetness the holiday requires. Perhaps most importantly, she pays tribute to her Mean Girls role by reprising “Jingle Bell Rock” in the car, even remarking “I’ve always loved this song!”. This is a film that isn’t afraid to capitalize on sentimental appeal, using these moments to wink knowingly at the audience.
Similarly, Overstreet’s relentless, golden retriever good guy act is reminiscent of his beloved (if not controversial) television show, ‘Glee’. Anyone who grew up in the 2000s will appreciate Falling for Christmas as an unburied time capsule of their teenage years. Jake, like many of Overstreet’s characters, is a chronic do-gooder. Despite his failing business, he is constantly handing out free rooms to newlyweds and digging politicians out of the snow in his free time. Maybe it’s bad business to give otherwise paying customers free accommodations, but that’s just the kind of guy Jake is. Overstreet’s undying positivity is unflappable. Even the memory of his dead wife is forgotten with a sleigh ride or a good cup of cocoa.
The tribute to the early aughts continues with superb retro styling. Sierra Belmont’s heiress status affords her a luxury wardrobe complete with red sunglasses, a gown-like bathrobe, and of course a bedazzled matching set. When she makes a predictable venture into working class life, the costume designer still has fun with flannels and shades of deep red. Nothing is more satisfying than watching Lindsay Lohan return to the screen in her truest form: sassy, sparkly, and totally fashionable.
Equally stylish is the clueless fiancé, Tad Fairchild. Loud, posh, and always accessorized, Tad’s flamboyant and selfie-obsessed nature is another relic of the past – this time in the form of a typical Millennial. George Young delivers a fun and completely over-the-top performance. Even though the jokes feel about ten years behind the times, the “kids these days” humor is good-natured and energetic.
Amongst the maze of clichés is a landmine of plot holes. Jake’s failing and yet continually packed ski lodge goes unexplained, his dead wife fades in and out of his memory like a coworker’s birthday, and his daughter eagerly accepts the forgetful stranger, Sierra, as a stand-in parental figure. Of course, in the land of melodrama, most plot sins are forgiven. If there is anything to be desired, it’s even pacing and sensible conflict. Sierra goes from an unhelpful maid to a confidant and love interest in a matter of minutes, and the pair fight, cry, and make up over nothing. With more attention to the script, the chemistry between the couple could have been explored in greater depth – the romance in particular felt like a well of untapped potential.
While Falling for Christmas probably won’t land in the Christmas movie hall of fame, it’s a snuggly feel-good watch for a night in. Anyone feeling especially nostalgic for 2009 will have a field day with this time machine flick. Get the cocoa, throw on a reindeer sweater, read up on the drama between Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Lindsay Lohan, and you’re golden.
Written by Emi Grant
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