Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas Review: Soap Icons, Sisterhood, and Sass Delivers Epic Fun That Invites A Sequel

Spoilers

Tis the season for the seasoned!

All the other Christmas movies can go ahead, pack it up, and go home.

Why? Because Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas just has that magic.

No one can quite deliver like veteran actresses, and there wasn’t a single moment of this film that wasn’t delightful.

Lifetime can strike gold when it comes to reuniting stars of yesteryear, from series to films for productions like this, especially Christmas films.

A Christmas Spark was the perfect Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman reunion and was one of the network’s best Christmas films in recent years.

They’ve also succeeded in bringing us little reunions every holiday season.

But reuniting and bringing together some of the most iconic women from soaps was no easy feat, and it made for a holiday film that left viewers squealing in glee whether they were soap fans or not.

I’ve noticed a pattern this season where the holiday films don’t feel as heavy on Christmas, as the holiday serves more as background plots for bigger things. A Divas Christmas was not an exception either.

It brought these veteran actresses from a popular soap opera from back in the day together for a live Christmas show, something pushed for by a young actor turned writer and producer, Alex.

But despite the decorations everywhere and the special they were filming, the film wasn’t saturated with Christmas or even felt like it had a Christmas theme.

It’s a movie that could easily be on heavy rotation all year round to show how utterly fabulous it is to have these five women interacting with each other in the most entertaining ways.

Divas of Christmas was pure, unadulterated, soapy, funny, campy, heartwarming fun.

That’s precisely what you want from a holiday film, so this has arguably been one of the most enjoyable ones from the season.

What Lifetime is doing incredibly well is delivering enjoyable, refreshing, and real content for “women of a certain age,” why not? Those women likely make up most of the network’s demographic in the first place.

One can’t reiterate enough how invigorating it is to see women over 40 loving, laughing, living, and being their most authentic selves on the screen.

And A Divas Christmas gave us five of them at once, with some of the most recognizable faces in the game! And my goodness, they all looked stunning.

It was hard not to smile from ear to ear the second they appeared onscreen. Can we talk about how much of a goddess Donna Mills is?

Getting a double dose of her this year after her stint during the V.C. Andrews Dawn series proves we must have been on the “Nice” list.

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The woman can still light up a screen all these years later.

Morgan Fairchild remains all of the freaking goals with one of the best wardrobes in the game. If there is a possibility of that woman having a terrible angle, we haven’t found it yet.

Loni Anderson was such a dream, and she’s so effortless in everything she does. You gravitated to her every second she appeared on the screen.

Dallas’ Linda Gray is the very definition of iconic, and she was pure entertainment as Lauren. As someone who has enjoyed episodes of Dallas, it was also fun to see the many nods to her iconic role.

And Nicolette Sheridan is divine. She had one of the film’s most on-the-nose but heartfelt storylines — the very center of it.

Staying true to form, this film wasn’t so much about romance but opted to showcase the love and conflict among these women, and it was all the better because of that.

The breakaway from putting romance at the forefront of the movie was the best move and the most rewarding and unique one.

All of these veteran actresses are undoubtedly known for being sexy, something that they still bring to the table full stop, and we see that sexiness and confidence exuded in their every move.

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But they’re also known for being strong, powerful women who aren’t defined by their relationships with men. It was so lovely that while Lauren was married, men as lovers were peripheral characters in their overall story.

In this film, we got the best of both worlds, recognizing them as sexual beings without needing to make whatever romance they were experiencing the center of their story.

The love for the Divas was in them reuniting after so many years, repairing their relationships, and recognizing their love for each other.

A Divas Christmas was such a treat for soap fans. They had many nods to these ladies’ iconic roles, soap plots, etc. Juliette getting shoved into the pool was a big one, and Lauren rocking an ensemble that embodied her Dallas character was another.

But the film knew how not to take itself too seriously; having the women take jabs at themselves and their careers, the genre of television, and the industry was beyond amusing.

It did this while also putting some respect on the genre. Soap operas get a bad rep because they’re not deemed as prestigious, but when you think of all the work that goes into them, what other genre serves up all of that?

No other genre of television has actors learning new scripts every single day. The turnaround for soaps is insane. You have to be built a certain way to endure it successfully, and let’s not forget that the scripts they’re learning can veer to the absolute outrageous!

Soap stars are up there with theater actors for being some of the game’s most talented yet severely underrated.

Morgan Fairchild easily had some of the best lines and quips from the film, delivered in that easy, snappy, sarcastic, and blunt way of hers that made Margaux my favorite Diva of the bunch.

She nailed that unapologetic directness without much of a filter that can be so common in seasoned women as they’re well past the point in their lives where they’re inclined to bite their tongues or hold back.

Margaux was a person you’d love to hang out with because she could cut through all the BS and get straight to the point, and she had the knack for telling it like it was and saying what others were thinking without being rude about it.

My heart hurt for her as her penchant for men and multiple marriages caught up with her when her late husband embezzled all of her money and left her struggling.

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Her financial woes after that felt very real, and while it made sense that she withheld that information for the others so long out of pride, you could appreciate that she had such a survivor spirit.

You could feel the load she was carrying get released the second she could confide in her soap sisters about what she was dealing with financially.

I love that the conflicts and issues these women were facing were so real and resonated with viewers because it’s the type of stuff that everyday people may identify with or feel.

As a woman likely deemed “past her prime” in the industry, you could feel for Lily and the fact that she never got her due with enough award recognition and an Emmy.

It’s not an unfamiliar feeling in the industry. Still, it’s also something that real women watching could grasp in some capacity, whether through their career and work life or their personal one with relationships and family.

Everyone wants to be seen, recognized, and valued for what they bring to the table. It was also reassuring to see that even after all those years, Lily struggled with being in the shadow of the “bigger stars” in their bunch.

Lily’s Imposter Syndrome was so genuine that it was one of the best minor plot points.

In addition to that, it was worth appreciating that she wanted to step into who she was unapologetically by donning her gray hair rather than wearing blond wigs or dying.

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It spoke volumes about embracing age and the beauty of it rather than kowtowing to an often sexist and ageist system and society.

On the surface, Lauren’s dietary storyline felt pedestrian compared to the others, but it was still enjoyable, and even that had its message worked wonderfully.

In the days when everything is so binary, lacks nuance, and people only focus on such extremes, moderation in life is crucial and a necessity.

It’s something we must advocate for and practice at every conceivable turn.

But the lynchpin plot that held this film together was the feud between Dana and Juliette.

It wouldn’t be a proper soap without some relenting feud, and the Knots Landing queens gave us all the material we needed.

The realism of two decades going by and neither of these women still at each other’s throats because of miscommunication wasn’t lost.

If they had a simple conversation some time ago, maybe they wouldn’t have missed out on years of being each other’s soulmate in the purest form.

Best friends fall out, and that’s real. One can appreciate a film that acknowledges the pain in that and how a friendship breakup can be just as if not more painful and traumatic than a romantic one.

Being in the same room nearly cost everyone around them because of how chilly or snippy they were with one another.

Fortunately, their attempts to fake it through the festivities for Alex’s sake was the much-needed opportunity they needed to interact more, have actual conversations rather than talk at one another, and squash their beef.

There is always so much more to a series. Juliette thought that Dana abandoned her when she left the series, and that’s why they fell out and hadn’t kept in touch.

But Dana eventually confessed that her inappropriate relationship with Juliette’s fiance is what drove her away and had her feeling as if she hurt her friend too much to come back from it.

It was such an unusual moment of acknowledgment. Still, thankfully, Juliette could look at the situation’s silver lining and accept that had she known and kicked her philandering fiance to the curb eons ago, she wouldn’t have her son.

The other Divas did an excellent job of meddling in each other’s business and encouraging ways for the two women to make things right, but they weren’t overbearing, nor did it detract from them having their own stuff to deal with.

The film could’ve taken such a petty, catty, sexist approach to having five women come together for something like this. They could’ve leaned too heavily into them being competitive and jealous of one another.

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They also could have reduced them to sexist caricatures.

But instead, the sense of sisterhood was strong. You felt the love and respect among these women even when they were at odds. They were at odds at times because they loved each other so much.

A Divas Christmas proved that there’s a seat at the table for more than one woman at a time, yes, even as they mature over time.

On a romance front, frankly, the Alex and Nell storyline wasn’t even necessary for the film. That said, I enjoyed it anyway.

These meddlesome maternal figures doing everything they can to push past their differences for Alex was emotional enough. They highlighted how they held him in such high regard and would do what was necessary for the family.

Their advice and actions to help Alex and Nell acknowledge and act on their feelings for each other were precious.

I loved that they gave Nell a makeover, but she was still Nell. It wasn’t about transforming her into something or someone she wasn’t but pulling out who she already was, boosting her confidence, and inspiring her to be more assertive.

They encouraged Nell to stick up for herself and be an active woman in control of her own destiny rather than a passive person who let life happen to her.

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Each diva had some words of wisdom or some way of helping her, and it was adorable to see them taking her under their wing, whether it was the cliche route of having them envious of her or excluding her.

The women collectively used their years of experience in life to guide Nell into being her best self and the woman she was and needed to be.

And they knew how to play their cards with Nell, knowing full well that Alex needed a reality check and a dash of knowing he could lose Nell again to wake him up and keep him from taking her for granted all over again.

In a way, Nell and Alex’s romantic conflict paralleled the sisterly feud between Juliette and Dana.

Nell thought she and her best friend had a moment and were destined to pursue a new stage in their relationship after sharing a passionate kiss in college. But then she felt Alex abandoned her when he dropped out of college the next day and stopped communicating.

She had no way of knowing that all of Alex’s actions after the fact were a result of losing his mother. Alex should have told her then; they could have gotten through it together.

Nevertheless, all these two lovebirds needed was a push from their fairy-glam mothers and honest communication about their feelings and where they stood.

And it was worth it in the end to see them finally kiss. As a secondary plot, it was heartwarming for a different reason, but I loved it.

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The film’s final moments were great because it felt like all the women found their footing, and the success of their special led to something even bigger.

It meant there was still space for these seasoned ladies, who were well-received, loved, and admired.

Their stories, successes, and lives don’t have to stop once they reach a certain age.

And because of the open-ended nature of their being more for the Divas, Lifetime left a perfect opening for these ladies to reunite again for a sequel.

I, for one, could not think of anything better than the opportunity to spend more time with them and have another movie in the works, as this one was everything one could have asked for and more.

Fabulously Dishy Bits, Zings, and Thoughts

  • Lily’s shady line about being part of “For the People” Shonda Rhimes’s “Only Flop” made me cackle. Poor Lily must’ve forgotten about Off the Map.
  • Side note: For the People was such a kickass series, and you should totally stream it on the CW app or Hulu, even if it’s simply to see Bridgerton breakout heartthrob Regé-Jean Page before he hit it big.
  • Lily also joking about how great of an actress she was for selling a romantic storyline with Rodney Dangerfield was also one of the greatest zingers.
  • Dana’s meta Lifetime biopic/Mother Teresa line was fantastic.
  • Donna Mills’ daughter, Chloe Mills, making a cameo as her daughter was perfection.
  • Alec Mapa is always the best side character for soapy, reality show-level roles.
  • Nell absolutely SLAYED that flowy red jumpsuit! Whew, I want it!
  • One of the film’s most honest moments was Lauren lying to her husband about the burger and fries she scarfed down.
  • There was more casual shade throwing than an eclipse, and I lived for every second of every zinger they threw into this film.
  • Alex sleeping in his office and doing all of his writing in a messy room while wearing nothing but his underwear was so real.
  • All the Divas definitely felt like the type of women who went to bed and woke up with a full face of makeup on.
  • I’m so glad we’re in a ‘seasoned” renaissance!
  • The Golden Bachelor is a massive hit and the best of the franchise. Martha Stewart is a total smoke show on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The Golden Girls is still a comfort show and cult hit across generations. Featured films about women late in life, and mature romances thriving and being just as sexy onscreen; I’m loving every second of it!
  • I’m trying to figure out if I want to be Margaux Roberts or just Morgan Fairchild when I grow up. Both? Maybe both.
  • The food fight was epic and fun!
  • No, but really, I need a sequel.

Over to you, Lifetime Fanatics.

Did you love this Divas Christmas? Would you love a sequel? Which of these iconic soap stars were you most excited to see? Hit the comments.

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.

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