Lori Loughlin stars in her first Christmas movie post-prison — and there’s a real-life element to the plot
Three years after serving time for her part in the college admissions scandal, Loughlin is ‘celebrating faith and the charity of Christmas’ in her second film on the Great American Family network
It’s not her first movie since serving a two-month sentence in federal prison, but “A Christmas Blessing” does mark Lori Loughlin’s post-prison return to the world of predictable holiday films ... although not on the Hallmark Channel.
Three years after serving time for her part in the college admissions scandal — Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were accused of paying $500,000 in bribes so their daughters could be University of Southern California crew recruits — Loughlin is “celebrating faith and the charity of Christmas” in her second film on the Great American Family network.
What is the Lori Loughlin Christmas movie about?
“A Christmas Blessing,” which premiered Nov. 12, marks Loughlin’s first Christmas film since 2018, per IMDb. Loughlin stars as Mandy Gilmore, a celebrity chef who plans to travel the world and write a book about fine dining. Before she can begin her travels, though, she has to hand over the deed to her late aunt’s food pantry in Milwaukee, which a nearby business owner has purchased.
When she arrives, Mandy meets a longtime volunteer for the food bank, who is surprised to learn it won’t open for the Christmas season as it has in years past, according to Decider. It’s during this trip that Mandy “finds her higher purpose is serving others” as she opts to put her trip on hold and pour her efforts into the food bank for one last Christmas, per the film’s trailer.
“It’s never too late to do a good thing,” the volunteer, Otto Nessen, tells Loughlin’s character in the trailer.
“A Christmas Blessing” was reportedly inspired by Loughlin’s real-life volunteer experience with Project Angel Food, per Parade. For the community service that was part of her plea deal in the college admissions scandal, Loughlin, who is an executive producer for the new film, completed 100 hours with Project Angel Food, Entertainment Tonight reported.
“A court cannot order the level of excellence, hard work, and kindness Lori Loughlin brought to her community service at Project Angel Food preparing and delivering life-saving meals to critically ill people,” Brad Bessey, Project Angel Food’s head of communications, previously told Entertainment Tonight.
Loughlin has continued to work with Project Angel Food since her community service, including appearing on a telethon to raise money for the organization last year.
“They welcomed me with such open arms at a time when I was feeling particularly down and broken,” Loughlin said, per the Los Angeles-based TV station KTLA. “That’s how I found a home here, and that’s what I feel like they did for me, and that’s why I’m so proud to be here and working with this organization, because they really do care.”
What critics are saying about ‘A Christmas Blessing’
There’s not much out there from critics. Rotten Tomatoes boasts one critic’s less-than-favorable review: “At its best, ‘A Christmas Blessing’ is a perfectly average holiday movie, but it’s average in a way that now seems unsurprising and ultimately unspectacular,” Brett White writes for Decider.
But White does have praise for Loughlin: “Whatever your opinion on Lori Loughlin is after the last few years of headlines and her return to TV via GAF, you gotta admit: she’s great as the lead of a holiday TV movie.”
How social media reacted to Lori Loughlin’s return to Christmas movies
Social media was much kinder. Following the film’s premiere, Loughlin began trending on X, formerly Twitter, with a number of fans lauding her return to the Christmas genre.
- “It’s fantastic to see #LoriLoughlin and I hope she’ll have more movies on @GAfamilyTV,” one user wrote.
- “Lori! It’s so good to see you again,” wrote another viewer.
Social media also praised the film for promoting faith.
- “Beautiful prayer scene!” wrote one viewer. “Loving all the references to faith in the movies this year!”
- “I’ve loved all the prayers we’ve seen in this year’s Christmas movies. Wonderful to see!” wrote another.
How to watch Lori Loughlin movie ‘A Christmas Blessing’
- Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. MST.
- Nov. 17 at 2 a.m. MST.
- Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. MST.
Great American Family films are also available for streaming on a number of platforms, including Philo, DirecTV Stream, fuboTV and Sling, per Penn Live. Amazon Prime users can also watch the film by signing up for a free, seven-day trial with Great American Pure Flix.