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THE FALLOUT: Tenderly Explores the Domino Effects of Trauma Following a School Shooting

Warner Brothers Pictures

Directed by Megan Park

Stars: Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch, Will Ropp, Lumi Pollack, Julie Bowen, and Shailene Woodley

Megan Park crafts one of the most important stories for a generation that has had so much tragedy in their short time on earth. This film is made for Gen Z, a generation that has seen so much hurt for their peers in the news and in life. A generation that has had the safety and security that’s associated with schools ripped away, in fear that their school will be the next one to experience the indescribable terror of gun violence. Park weaves together the various perspectives from the fallout of a school shooting, showcasing the trauma, and the rediscovery of oneself after experiencing such a thing. Getting this from the perspective of not only our lead character Vada, but her friends, and family, allow us to see the wider effects of the trauma that has happened from the moment the first bullet was fired.

High schooler Vada navigates the emotional fallout she experiences in the wake of a school tragedy. Relationships with her family, friends and view of the world are forever altered.

The subject manner is so heavy and in other hands may have loomed in the darkness, Doggy paddling in the despair our lead feels with no hope in sight. Yet in Parks hand both through her writing and her direction, everything is handled so gently and with so much respect for the survivors of school shooting. They’re portrayed as kids still, kids with guilt and agony that no kid should have, but still kids that are learning about themselves as they should. It’s something I could appreciate so much, because never once does Vada or her friends get reduced to purely just a “survivor” as their lone characteristic. Getting these lighthearted scenes of Vada partying with Mia or watching a movie with Quinton, allows the viewer to breath a little before the heavy weight of what they experienced hits again, but it also allows the teens in the film to be just teens and do what normal teens do.

The various perspectives go together to show that dealing with trauma has no right answer. That there are various paths one can go on to find the peace and solace needed to move forward in life. Each of these characters have different mindsets from what they had experienced, and each one is dealing with the weight that no person should ever be asked to deal with in their own ways. It’s so we’ll done, because Park once again shows the various routes one can take to moving forward and never ever shows one persons perspective and experience as the right or wrong way.

The acting is strong throughout, and I think everyone on this cast deserves their flowers for what they brought to the film. Jenna Ortega is going to be a movie star, it doesn’t matter who she shared the screen with there was this natural chemistry that came with it. Her body language, the emotions on her face, and the words that came out of her mouth whether for a drama or for comedy purposes- all of it lands to a level that you just know she is going to be someone special in Hollywood for a long time. Niles Fit also found a way to capture me every time he was on the screen, his character Quinton has so much pain and intrigue that every time he’s on the screen the viewer looks on hooked to every word he says. While Lumi Pollack who plays Ortega’s sister Amelia, is an absolute scene stealer. The child actress had no issue standing out alongside all the more established actors- her back and forths with Ortega some of the best in the film.

Streaming now on HBOMax and Crave in Canada, The Fallout is a must stream film that every person will take something from. It’s the first voice for this next generation whose tragedies and voices will shape the world moving forward.


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