Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

During his interview with Lindsay Lohan on The Tonight Show, Jay Leno told the star that Jane Fonda, among others, considered Lohan one of the best actresses she’s worked with. Well, that’s certainly true if she was anything less than genuine during her sit-down, in which Lohan spoke about her troubled past and current legal issues. Because I’m convinced: This time around, Lohan really is ready to turn over a new leaf. Though Leno spoke briefly to Lohan about her upcoming role as Kim Gotti in Gotti: Three Generations, it didn’t take long for the Tonight Show host to talk about Lohan’s well-publicized problems. While discussing Lohan’s love for The Godfather and her meeting Gotti as a toddler, Leno quipped, “Hanging out with John Gotti when you’re three. That’s a bad decision. That could be why you’re in so much trouble now.” (Lohan’s response: “Oh, thank you. I was waiting for that to come up.”)

What followed was an honest conversation about the actress’ past — and how much she’s looking towards a positive future. Of course, it was impossible to ignore the fact that on Friday, Lohan was sentenced to 120 days in jail for violating her probation (something she called “a wake-up call”), but still, Lohan told Leno that she’s taking responsibility for her actions, and is aware that she has plenty to prove within the industry. (Essentially, she echoed her statements to Extra in March.) “I made a lot of poor decisions in the past,” she said. “And I’m dealing with the consequences of those decisions. So, yeah, there were times when I was concerned [about getting work], but I’m a fighter. And I know I have to work to gain the respect back. And I’m willing to do the work that I have to do to follow through with being an actress.” Lohan also discussed her family support system (she told Leno, “My mom is amazing”… but refused to discuss her father), the fairness of her sentence (“I think I was treated the way I should be treated”), and her poor decision-making skills as a teen: “I think that being young and being in the position that I was in, you don’t really take the time to appreciate what you have. And it all is kind of a whirlwind and people make decisions for you. But I’m not a kid anymore. I’m 24. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I recognize that. But I’m in the clear now.”

That being said, it’s easy to see how some may think Lohan wasn’t quite being contrite. After all, she did joke about her day in court on Friday, telling Leno it took place on “Good Friday. Not so good for me!” (I’d prefer to think that if Lohan doesn’t laugh, she cries.) But it was also easy to be nostalgic viewing the interview, especially when Leno showed a photo of the actress on The Tonight Show when she was 12 years old. Plenty of us fans would like to think that somewhere in the troubled 20-something actress is some leftover spirit and enthusiasm that that little adorable girl who starred in The Parent Trap exhibited way back when. And we’d like to remain optimistic: Here’s hoping that six years from now, we won’t laugh at where Lohan is claiming she’d like to be in 2017: “Hopefully sitting here after I’ve won an Oscar.”

So PopWatchers, after that interview, do you have sympathy for Lohan? Or have you given up on her?

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWardEW

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