The Fallout left me heavy-hearted and utterly impacted

The cover for the movie The Fallout

The cover for the movie The Fallout

This story and film contain talk and portrayal of a school shooting and trauma.

When I saw that Maddie Ziegler was cast in the new HBO Max film The Fallout, I didn’t waste any time grabbing a blanket and popping my AirPods in.

I’ve idolized Maddie since her debut on Dance Moms—not only for her dancing but for her loving character. And since then, she’s become an influencer I admire. From her clothing lines to her acting career, I’ve been a huge fan. 

However, I didn’t know what to expect when starting The Fallout

First off, we are first introduced to Vada (Jenna Ortega), and we follow her through the average day as a teenager in high school. We meet her friends, her little sister, and her mom and dad. And soon enough, we meet Mia, played by Maddie Ziegler. 

Little did I know, this movie has much greater importance to it than featuring Maddie Ziegler. The Fallout is telling the story of a school shooting. 

It’s not about a specific shooting that has occurred; it simply brings us through the tragedy in a high school student’s view. Within the first 20 minutes, we first-handedly see the tragic event take place, and in that, fear with Val and Mia for their lives. 

I have never seen a full movie covering this topic—only short films or videos. In saying this, The Fallout was a necessary movie, although upsetting, because it tells the story of so many people around the world—one that is a very difficult story to tell.  

The acting was unmatched. Both Ziegler and Ortega had me in awe with how dedicated they were to their roles, so much so, it brought tears to my eyes. This kind of tragedy is something so meticulous to portray, but these actors were chosen for the right reasons. 

Little did I know, this movie has much greater importance to it than featuring Maddie Ziegler.

The directors then take the viewers through the aftermath of a school shooting and how people are coping. It is a very heart-wrenching film, as we see their struggle, bringing awareness to all school shooting victims all over the world. 

Throughout the film, we see Vada and Mia—who were at first, complete strangers—come together after the event struck, thus creating a bond that will last a lifetime. Although sprouted from a nightmare, their friendship grows to be one so strong, one so important to the both of them. They are using each other as an outlet and a source of comfort to try to heal. 

I felt stuck—stuck in a daze throughout the hour and a half long movie, feeling and hurting with the characters as they were forever affected and their lives were eternally changed. It is bizarre to think that a single moment can change an entire community’s life, but the actors and directors of The Fallout portrayed this impressively. 

The Fallout is a film with a deep connotation, spreading the untold story of so many people. Although my heart ached throughout the entirety of the movie, it was about time for a sensitive subject like this one to be addressed and empathized with.