A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Feeling grief is an emotionally draining process, and it requires empathy and compassion to get through. Communicating your feelings can help you make sense of tough emotions.
Positive Role Models
Vada and Mia develop a friendship after experiencing a traumatic experience together. Since they both understand what the other has gone through, they're able to show each other compassion and empathy and communicate their emotions to each other. Vada also realizes that she needs to figure out how to better communicate to her family and friends.
Vada and her father, both main characters, are played by actors of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. There's also LGBTQ+ representation among the teen characters and their families (same-sex romantic relationships, a two-dad family, etc.). And it's notable that Nick's storyline isn't about his sexuality but rather about how he uses his grief to fuel change via activism. That said, Quinton falls into a "strong Black character" cliche: He suffers the most from the tragedy of having lost his brother, but he appears to have been affected the least.
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Violence & Scariness
Sounds of a school shooting, including gunshots and screaming. Scenes with blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Vada and Mia have sex; no more than kissing is shown. Vada kisses Quinton in another scene.
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Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and "oh my God."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes with drinking and drug use by teens.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Fallout is a poignant, intense drama about a diverse group of teens experiencing grief after going through the trauma of a school shooting. Mature content includes drug use and drinking by teens, strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and more), kissing, implied sex, sounds of gunshots and screaming, and some blood. Themes include the importance of empathy, communication, and compassion. Because the film includes scenes that represent a school shooting in progress, teens may find it upsetting; be sure to talk to them about the feelings it raises. Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler co-star. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Ths poignant examination of grief and survivor's guilt makes an emotional case for gun safety by giving audiences a first-hand look at what happens to teens who experience a school shooting. The Fallout does a great job of showing how messy grief can be, including the moments of stalling out, making mistakes, hurting others, and feeling lost and alone. Vada is extremely relatable in a haunting way, especially since her character shows the devastation that a needless crime can cause. The film makes the most compelling case since the documentary Us Kids for why legislation aimed at stopping school shootings is necessary.
Other characters, including Mia, Quinton, (Will Ropp) and Vada's sister, Amelia (Lumi Pollack), demonstrate the different ways that people can be affected by tragedy. And although Vada and Mia are the main characters (and their stories are convincingly realistic), you could argue that Nick and Quinton's stories are even more compelling. Nick uses his grief to become a gun-control activist, echoing the experiences of the real-life students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And Quinton saw his brother die in front of him, making him the only main character to lose a family member in the shooting. But his story doesn't get as much play as it probably should, given that he's likely going through the most intense version of trauma and grief among the key characters -- and, in fact, he's written as the most stable and the least affected of them all. In light of how many Black people have experienced the effects of gun violence, it would have made more sense for the film to give Quinton a wider range of emotions to express. Instead, he verges on the cliche of Black characters (and, by extension, Black people in real life) being more emotionally opaque and "strong." All of that said, Fitch does a great job portraying Quinton and making him likable. Overall, The Fallout gives viewers a first-hand look at what kids across the country have, tragically, either gone through or fear going through at school. It drives home the point that no gun is worth more than a child's life.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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