Review of ‘The Fallout’: Undesirable effects of trauma

Jenna Ortega stars in “The Fallout,” a high school drama that explores the emotional turmoil of a teenager following a school shooting.

The film evoked by that sentence may sound witchy, preachy, or frankly unverifiable, but what this Megan Park debut shows right is how the effects of trauma can often be. How painful and weird, especially when a group of teenagers have to go through . Ortega describes Vada, a 16-year-old self-proclaimed “cold” young man who, during filming, finds himself hiding in a bathroom with fellow students Mia (Maddie Ziegler) and Quinton (Niles Fitch). This shared experience causes Vada to form a strained and confusing relationship with both of them, even as she slowly drifts away from her parents (Julie Bowen and John Ortiz), and her younger sister, Amelia (Lumi Pollack). ), and her best friend, Nick (Will Ropp), who turns her trauma into active work and doesn’t understand why Vada wouldn’t.

Ortega plays the role of a goofy teenager who is, however, still a teenager, reeling from an unimaginable event alongside the usual growing pains. Her uncanny, impulsiveness and, yes, even funny outburst as she tries to calculate with the shooting paint a well-founded and benevolent picture of the pain of adolescence. adult. Her on-screen chemistry with Fitch and especially Ziegler strikes that delicate balance, as do Vada’s conversations with her school therapist (a Shailene Woodley is seen). short but very good).

Park emphasizes realism with her light yet stylish direction, from the small details (the Black Lives Matter sign hangs on a suburban window) to the dreamy shots that highlight the level of focus. of the film into a Gen Z experience (two masked and gagged teenagers smoking in a hot tub; one girl practicing the TikTok dance while her sister texted in front). As one might expect from a work that revolves around dealing with current events, not everything in Vada’s life is neatly resolved according to the film’s ending. After all, trauma never really goes away; it grows and grows, just like the people who carry it.

Rated R for swearing and alcohol and drug use among adolescents. Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes. Watch on HBO Max. Review of ‘The Fallout’: Undesirable effects of trauma

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