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8 Movies That Thoughtfully Explore the Trauma of School Shootings

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The epidemic of school shootings in America is a horror it’s almost impossible to look at head-on — but for the increasing number of people who have been directly affected by this kind of incident, it’s even more impossible to ignore. Children today are learning active shooter drills in school to prepare for the real possibility that they will need to flee an armed gunman at some point in their schooling, and that’s only the beginning of the potential trauma in store. In HBO Max’s new film The Fallout, starring Jenny Ortega and Maddie Ziegler and directed by Megan Park, we follow two teens whose lives are turned upside down after they survive a shooting at their school and struggle to deal with the trauma of the aftermath — a story made all the more haunting by the knowledge that this is a reality for many young people across America.

As leaders of this nation fail to take enact appropriate gun control measures, filmmakers have increasingly grappled with ways to find meaning in this aspect of our uniquely American culture, from Michael Moore’s Bowling For Columbine investigating the ready availability of firearms to Fran Kranz’s Mass and Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin about the ways parents are assigned blame in these tragedies. While none of these stories are easy to look at, they are important for showing what it looks like to grow up or to raise a family in America today, never knowing when your community may be the next to be rocked by tragedy.

Read on for eight movies that take on school shootings and the trauma that follows.

A version of this article was originally published on Jan 2022. 

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