“The Fallout” Movie Review


TW: school shooting

There will also be spoilers for the movie, so read at your own risk 🙂

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Rated R

Available on HBO Max


For those who don’t know, The Fallout is a movie that came out in 2021, with Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler starring as their characters Vada and Mia, respectively. Beginning with a jarring scene of a school shooting in which Vada and Mia are forced to hide in a bathroom stall together, the story describes the different ways the girls respond to the trauma and heal – together. 

Mia is the stereotypical popular girl. Modeled off of Maddie Ziegler herself, she is a social media star and dancer. In contrast, Vada is more of a wallflower and is more of an outcast. What makes The Fallout so interesting is the way that these two characters run both parallel and intersecting paths in processing their trauma, and lean on each other to help them heal. 

The shooting scene is not graphic, as the camera is focused on the girls in the bathroom the whole time; however, the true fear, shock, and chaos of the scene was incredibly well done. Both Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler do a great job of reflecting the true terrifying nature of their situation. 

As days and months after the shooting go by, Vada and Mia begin to heal slowly. They spend a lot of their time together, just existing, as they are bonded in some ways by their trauma. What I found shocking was the progression of their relationship. Towards the end of the movie they end up diving into a romantic side of their relationship. It is clear that the lines between platonic and romantic blurred. They immediately clarify to each other that they just want to be friends, but they will obviously be bonded in a unique way forever, through the trauma of their experience and their relationship as they heal.

No, this movie does not have a happy ending. Vada and Mia don’t start dating, they don’t have a final revelation that helps them overcome their trauma. In fact, the opposite happens. In the last scene of the movie, Vada and Mia get notifications on their phones of another school shooting that happened. It is a chilling reminder of the seemingly never ending events of gun violence or school shootings. It also demonstrates the fact that the trauma Vada and Mia have will follow them forever, and that the healing process is long and is never fully finished. 

This movie is one of the best movies I’ve watched lately. I feel as if I have recommended it to so many people. The acting was spectacular. I always have concerns when a celebrity that doesn’t have a large background in acting is in a starring role, but Maddie Ziegler exceeded my expectations and then some. The chemistry between Vada and Mia was unmatched. And I cannot say enough about Jenna Ortega. She was absolutely amazing in this movie. I’ve never really recommended a movie, I’m more of a TV show person, but I cannot recommend this one enough. 

Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash