Is The Fallout a true story? What inspired the Jenna Ortega film

Is the school tragedy based on true events?

a still from The Fallout film showing a mum hugging her daughter and is based on a true story
(Image credit: Future/Warner Bros)

Streaming service fans who have watched The Fallout in the UK and US are wondering if it's based on a true story. 

2022 has seen a host of incredible films released and captivating audiences, with many of them sharing stories that have been, or appear to be, based on real life events. Most recently Netflix audiences have been asking if The Swimmers is based on a true story, whilst Apple TV fans have similarly wondered if Will Smith's new film Emancipation is a true story or not too.

Unsurprisingly the film The Fallout has had viewers asking similar questions. The coming-of-age drama has peaked in popularity again following the success of a certain Netflix Addams family spin off, which also includes the film's lead - aka Wednesday actress Jenna Ortega. The film is based on High schooler Vada (Jenna Ortega) who navigates the emotional fallout she experiences in the wake of a school tragedy, and how this affects the relationships she has with her family, friends and view of the world forever.

Is The Fallout a true story?

No, The Fallout is not based on a true story - both the film's director and writer Megan Park have confirmed that it isn't a real tale, however it is inspired by the 42 acts of gun related violence that have taken place in American schools.

Speaking to Film Inquiry back in 2021, Megan explained, "I remember I had wanted to write this movie for a while, or at least talk about my feelings about shootings," she told the publication. "But I was really scared too. I felt the same thing. I hadn't specifically experienced that, luckily. But because I was Canadian and certain reasons like that, I thought maybe I wasn't the right person to talk about this.

a still of Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler from The Fallout film

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

"After a while, I started realising I couldn't not tell this story. It was really important to me that this version of healing was talked about. So I just went ahead and did it. I obviously did a lot of research and spoke to people; did my due diligence, hopefully. But it was scary. It's a tough subject to talk about."

Meghan felt it was important to shine a spotlight on the after-effects of a school shooting and how they can impact survivor's lives as grapple to recover from the event.

The Fallout has a similar theme to Netflix film Luckiest Girl Alive which story also centres on a school shooting and the fallout from it.

What is The Fallout about?

The official film synopsis explains how Vada moves "away from her comfortable family routine, she starts taking chances with a series of decisions that test her own boundaries and push her in new directions. As she spends more time with Mia (played by Maddie Ziegler), they grow closer and Vada slowly redefines herself through their shared experiences."

Catch the full trailer below for a preview of what The Fallout is all about.

The Fallout: Reviews

The Fallout has a very impressive 95% star rating on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and an audience score of 82%. "Empathetic and well-acted, The Fallout uses the aftermath of teen trauma to grapple with the experience of grief," summarises the site.

"The Fallout is terrific, and terrifically real," says Vox reviewer Allisa Wilkinson. Meanwhile, top critic Analyssa from Autostraddle praises the lead star's performance: 

"There are moments of levity, times for a morbid joke and times for being so silly you forget (for a bit) that anything bad ever happened to you. Jenna Ortega handles those two tones incredibly deftly for such a young actor."

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Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)

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