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“Fallen Fruit” Is Relatable but Circular

Written by: Robin C. Farrell | April 9th, 2024

Fallen Fruit (Chris Molina, 2024) 3 out of 5 stars

Fallen Fruit, the feature film debut of director/writer Chris Molina, tells a familiar coming-of-age tale of heartbreak, identity, and the overall struggle of one’s early twenties. Alex (Ramiro Batista, Little Boxes), leaves New York after a shattering breakup with his boyfriend and moves back in with his family in Miami. Adrift and lonely, he attempts to find a new job, new community, and even, perhaps, new romance. Simultaneously, Alex unearths an old camcorder from the many, otherwise untouched boxes in his bedroom and begins documenting his new life, a few moments at a time, interspersed with introspective confessions into the lens.

The film’s main strengths are in its visuals and nonverbal storytelling. The overall tone is casual, candid and—despite the inclusion of cell phones and contemporary dialogue—with something of an inviting timelessness to the whole thing. The second half of the film is set against the backdrop of an impending hurricane, a clear but unassuming metaphor for the storm of Alex’s inner conflict—the whirlwind of life—upending without any sense of direction along with the onslaught of feelings that come with it. Likewise, the thematic undercurrent is apparent from the visual language when characters address it indirectly. However, when the script openly comments on the subject of growing up, facing adulthood, and life getting messy, it can veer into blunt, even stilted territory, at odds with the movie’s otherwise breezy quality.

Ramiro Batista in FALLEN FRUIT ©Chris Molina

Alex starts the film in a fairly petulant state of mind, slightly less than endearing at the outset. It’s not until he meets Chris (Austin Cassel, Yelling Fire in an Empty Theatre) that Alex starts to come alive and as a more compelling character. By the end of the film, though, it does not appear that he has grown or changed in any significant way. As the hurricane nears, he repeats behavior and makes the same mistakes from the first act. While he does feel the consequences of these mistakes, to have them bookend the story gives the impression that he has not evolved or really learned anything. In his final monologue to the camcorder, he states his plan and goals for the future, which comes across as a bit tacked-on.

And though the intent here may be to show that toiling through one’s early twenties can feel like a no-win scenario and that throwing oneself into attempts to climb out of a hole can often lead you right back to where you started. But that doesn’t necessarily make for the most rewarding movie-watching experience. Still, this is an otherwise engaging film with an enchanting soundtrack, mostly buoyant style, and storyline that may very much strike nostalgia for folks of multiple generations.

l-r: Austin Cassel and Ramiro Batista in FALLEN FRUIT ©Chris Molina

[Fallen Fruit just premiered at the 2024 Miami Film Festival.]


Robin C. Farrell is an editor, videographer, author, and nerd. Video production lead for Trail Grid Pro in Frederick, MD, she also competes in annual film races as part of Star Wipe Films. Farrell self-published her first book, Resistance Rising: A Genre Wars Novel,, and is the co-host and producer of Coffee & Contemplation, a Stranger Things podcast.

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