A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fallen is a supernatural romance/thriller based on Lauren Kate's best-selling 2009 young-adult novel. With themes and a love triangle reminiscent of many other page-to-screen YA films (cough, Twilight, cough), Fallen has some violence, language, and romance. The violence is both supernatural (angels fight one another while flying, fires engulf people) and realistic (a young character's throat is cut). Racy content is limited to a couple of kissing scenes (one is a short make-out session on a couch), and language includes one "f--k" and occasional swear words like "s--t," "a--hole," and "d--k."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Based on Lauren Kate's 2009 young-adult novel (the first in a four-book series), FALLEN centers on a teen girl named Luce (Addison Timlin), who's sent to a reform boarding school as a state-mandated alternative to juvenile detention. Luce ends up at Sword and Cross Academy because a boy died in a fire immediately after they kissed, while she mysteriously survived. At her new school, Luce quickly befriends bookish Penn (Lola Kirke), who's there by choice, finds an enemy in Goth-dressed Molly (Sianoa Smit-McPhee), and inspires affection in dark-haired bad boy Cam (Harrison Gilbertson). But Luce is also inexplicably drawn to golden-haired artist Daniel (Jeremy Irvine). A religious history teacher (Joely Richardson) discusses the legend of a group of angels who were banished from heaven -- becoming "fallen" angels -- after one refused to choose between God and the devil and instead chose love. As tensions flare and romantic feelings blossom, it's clear that Luce's magnetic pull to Daniel is supernatural.
Is it any good?
Coming several years too late to capitalize on the height of the book series' popularity, this supernatural teen romance isn't good enough to merit any sequels. Kate's Fallen books have sold more than 10 million copies, but they were published from 2009-2012, after the peak of the paranormal romance craze started by Twilight, and there doesn't seem to be an audience clamoring for this right now. Irvine, who has range as an actor, is limited here to exaggerated looks of confusion, hurt, longing, and anger. Timlin and Kirke have good best-friend chemistry, but that can't make up for some of the movie's more ridiculous aspects -- like how the script is never able to clearly articulate what's happening or why there's a strange concentration of teen angels at the same reform school.
Even devoted fans of the book will feel disappointed that, despite some decent actors, this adaptation is unnecessarily convoluted, has an eye-rollingly predictable romance (the love triangle in the book is better handled than the one in the movie), and finishes with a frustrating scene that makes it clear the filmmakers hoped more movies would be forthcoming. That seems unlikely, considering how long it took to even release this installment. Fallen seems destined to join Vampire Academy, Beautiful Creatures, and The Mortal Instruments (to name a few) as the latest popular YA book series to get a one-and-done adaptation.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about who the intended audience is for Fallen. Do you think it's for fans of similar movies, like Twilight? How can you tell? How does it compare to that film?
Do you consider Luce a role model for teen girls? Why or why not?
Why do you think love triangles are so prevalent in YA novel-based romances?
If you've read Lauren Kate's book, did the film meet your expectations? What changes were good for the film? What scenes did you miss from the novel?
How did the movie's violence affect you? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
- In theaters: September 8, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: October 10, 2017
- Cast: Addison Timlin, Jeremy Irvine, Harrison Gilbertson
- Director: Scott Hicks
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters, Friendship
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic material, violent images, some sensuality, language and teen partying
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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