‘The Fallout’ Ending, Explained: How Did Vada Deal With The Trauma?


Writer and director Megan Park has created this brittle world in her 2021 release, ‘The Fallout,’ where we get privy to the most quintessential truth of our lives. We often try to analyze our lives through logical parameters. We try to assess ways and means to cater to our future selves, but in the process, we forget the most important thing, i.e., there is no guarantee that we will survive to see the light of the day. We believe that the most dubious proposition is something we can take for granted. And that’s where we miss the plot.

Music by Finneas O’Connell needs a special mention as it sets the tonality of a phase in our lives that I fondly refer to as “unhindered youth.” It brings that carefree element, that rebellion, that head-on tryst with destiny and, moreover urges us to seize the moment rather than place our bet on the future.

‘The Fallout’ Plot Summary

Vada Cavell was no different from any other teenager. She finds herself devoid of any enthusiasm or motivation to make it to school, scampers at the last moment with her friend, Nick Feinstein, and gets excited when they are still able to make it on time. She might not show it or express it in words, but she does share a very warm and close bond with her younger sister, Amelia. She is the backbone who not only understands her younger sister but also fills the communication gaps that are frequently created between parents and children.

Amelia always has someone to confide in, even if she feels that she is not too comfortable going to her parents. Vada gets a call from Amelia when the latter gets her first period. She goes to the washroom, where she meets her colleague, Mia Reed, who also happened to be a tik-tok sensation. Out of nowhere, they hear gunshots, and they hide in the washroom. Petrified of the horrific screams coming from outside the washroom, the girls held their tongues. Just then, a fellow classmate, Quinton, enters the washroom next to theirs. He was gasping for breath, and his shirt was soaked in blood. Sobbing with extreme trepidation, he somehow managed to tell the girls that their brother had been shot in the gunfire violence. The sound of the shots ceased, and they could hear the sounds of sirens approaching. The massacre ended, but the lives of Vada, Mia, Quintin, and all those who were involved, unfortunately, changed forever.

‘The Fallout’ Ending Explained – How Did Vada Deal With The Trauma?

Vada had no clue that the actions of one man could bring about such a huge change in her life. She was scared to even step inside the school. She didn’t want to face reality. For some, intoxication becomes a tool to escape reality and, for once, not think about the incident. She started visiting a psychologist, but still was unwilling to move on. She had made herself impermeable. Vada started spending time with Mia as there was a common link that bonded them. The tragedy was able to bridge the gap that was created by social and financial aspects. They were both scared to step out. The bond became more intimate when they made out with each other. All this time, Vada’s family still didn’t know how to make their daughter feel less vulnerable.

Communication had ceased to exist between Vada and her family members. The elder sister, who was always there no matter what for Amelia, was nowhere to be found. On the one hand, the tragedy led the girls to hide in their cocoons, but it also made Nick an activist, who felt that it was his responsibility to bring about a change.

Is Vada Able To Start Over?

One night, Amelia, in her innocence, came to Vada and asked her what she had done wrong to be ignored by her elder sister. All hell broke loose, and Vada realized that she had been sleeping. She was walking, eating, and doing all the other things, but consciously she was never present. She made it a point that she would work towards getting better. It was not easy for her. The incident had caused a permanent dent in her subconscious. Things started getting better, but one day, a notification popped up on Vada’s phone. It was a news flash about a similar shooting in a different state. Vada felt that she could never get away from her demons. Once again, she felt captivated by her fears.

A question Vada often asked herself was if there was a special reason why she survived that day. She used to think that there would be something that destiny would have decided for her. But every passing day, she realized that there was no logic behind why she got saved. Maybe she just got lucky. She realizes that uncertainty is the only definite characteristic of life. It gives her a new perspective. Though in the end, we see her going back to the abyss once again, after she heard the news of the shootings, I think eventually she will learn to move forward and cease every moment that life gives her.

In Conclusion

There is nothing exceptionally authentic when it comes to the outline of the characters in ‘The Fallout,’ but the magic lies in the little nuances that make it distinct in every aspect. The performances by Jenna Ortega as Vada, Maddie Ziegler as Mia, and Lumi Pollack as Amelia, together with other characters, bring this world to life through their exceptional performances, and the organic dialogs just add to the flavor.

‘The Fallout’ is a 2022 Drama film written and directed by Megan Park. It is streaming on HBO Max.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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