METHOD FEST 2020 REVIEW! We get our fair share of teen romance films across our desks, and most of the writers are generally adults and young adults reflecting on their youth. I’m shocked at the level of depth and insight that filmmaker Ben Senior brought to his story of teen love in The Fall. Get this, Senior was a high school senior when he made this film.
Ben’s story is about a student, Michael (Robert Petrie). He’s a loner—the proverbial wallflower. Ignored by the rest of his class, Michael finds excitement storming away from the dinner table and engaging in nightly tours of PornHub.
Every morning Ben takes the train to school, yet on this fateful morning, he is joined by a new transfer student, Evie (Sara Gray). The two hit it off immediately over their love of Doctor Who. Infatuation clearly invigorates new life into Michael. He’s happy and, for the first time, dares to ask someone, Evie, out to the Homecoming dance… except she beats him to the dance-posal. All good, Bro!
At the dance, Evie panics and runs off. When Michael catches up to her, we find that life at home is not great for Evie, with her parents continually fighting. She finds comfort in Michael’s presence, and he steps up to become her hero.
We can’t end the story there. Michael and Evie’s love is put to the test with everything that gets in the way of young love—temptation from other lovers, feeling smothered, and specifically with Evie—her struggles keeping her sanity together with the problems at home.
“Infatuation clearly invigorates new life into Michael.”
As a much older adult, The Fall first brought me back to my high school days and reminded me what it was like NOT to be one of the popular kids. It also reminded me of how difficult finding, falling for, and maintaining a relationship is for a high school student. I’m sure this is not the film’s point, but it reaffirms my feelings that teens are not ready for real-life adult relationships. Yes, I know. “OK, Boomer. Move on!” Message received.
Again, Ben Senior’s story is a remarkable tale of adolescence. As a writer, Senior understands not only what teens go through while falling in love, but also understands its pitfalls and associated hormone rushes. Michael and Evie are each other’s heroes and enemies, and their story is real without the need for rose-colored glasses.
Make no bones about it, The Fall is a teen romance, but it is also a good drama… about teens in love (I’m just building expectations here). Quality-wise, the movie feels like a professional independent film with good camerawork and overall presentation. Acting-wise, Petrie and Gray are excellent as the two leads, especially for young actors, and do a great job carrying the entire film. That said, the supporting actors can come off as stilted and scripted, but all that’s forgivable as the focus is on the leads.
I could continue to harp on the fact that a high school senior made The Fall. Ultimately, a film is a film, and we should only judge the final product and not the story behind it. The Fall is a fantastic first film for Senior, and he took a giant step forward to becoming a big-time filmmaker. Don’t stop now.
The Fall screened at the 2020 Method Fest.
"…understands not only what teens go through while falling in love, but also understands its pitfalls…"