Megan Park, best known for her role in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, makes her directorial debut with this stunning YA drama starring Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, and her Secret Life co-star Shailene Woodley. The film dwells in the realm of simplicity, which allows Ortega to shine in her role as Vada, a teenager whose younger sister (Lumi Pollack) calls her at school when she gets her first period. The call prompts Vada to leave class and go to the bathroom, where she sees her classmate and social media influencer Mia (Ziegler) reapplying makeup. There’s some awkward tension between the girls, but the audience doesn’t have time to pick this apart when gunshots ring out through the hallways. The girls take cover in this terrifying moment, not knowing that this shared trauma will bring them closer over the coming months.
In the aftermath, Vada struggles to return to her daily routine and is encouraged by her mother (Julie Bowen) to see a therapist (Woodley). Vada and Mia start spending time together outside of school, trying to work through their trauma as nobody else in their lives seems to understand what they’re going through. In particular, Vada feels distanced from her sister, who feels she’s responsible for sending Vada out into the hallway during the shooting. Without being graphic, The Fallout manages to convey the characters’ grief, loss, and healing process in a believable, ruminative way. The simple but effective cinematography by Kristen Correll pairs brilliantly with Finneas O’Connell’s highly praised score. O’Connell and his sister Billie Eilish recently won an Oscar for their No Time To Die theme song, and have just released a song for Disney’s Turning Red.
Here are fifteen standout stills from The Fallout.