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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I purchased April Showers after watching the trailer online. I didn't know if it would be good or not, and believe me when I tell you that it is well worth the price. In this emotionally charged movie, Sean (Kelly Blatz) is distraught over the loss of one of his friends to a school shooting. I think everyone remembers where they were on April 20, 1999, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot 12 fellow students and 1 teacher at Columbine High before killing themselves. I think the director of this movie, who survived a school shooting himself, should stop whatever he's doing right now and pat himself on the back. A fresh young cast and amazing cinematography truly make this movie the best I've ever seen.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2009
From new filmmaker Andrew Robinson -- an ex-Columbine student who attended during the infamous April 1999 tragedy -- comes a movie that most people still believe should be unfilmable: the 1999 Columbine school shooting. Of course, because the material is such a sensative subject, there were films made that were loosely based on the Columbine shootings: Elephant: A Film By Gus Van Sant,Zero Day,Duck - Carbine High Massacre,Home Room, and The Final. However, none have come as close to the actual Columbine tragedy as "April Showers."

I've read all the books, seen all the evidence, read through all the eyewitness accounts and researched all the special investigative reports about that dreadful day. Although it is never actually said that the school is Columbine and that the film is "based on actual events" with names changed and characters added for dramatic effect, "April Showers" is probably as close as the filmmaking community will get to the retelling of the Columbine tragedy. Who's to say if in about 10 or more years, some new filmmaker comes along and does an exact, no-holds-barred movie on the event? But, so far, this is the best of the bunch. And who better to do it than a filmmaker who was attending the school at the time of the shootings?

Using mostly unknown actors (with the exception of Daryl Sabara (from Spy Kids / Spy Kids 2 - Island of Lost Dreams), Tom Arnold and Illeana Douglas, all giving riveting dramatic performances), Robinson sets out to fully capture the heartwrenching emotions that well up after such a tragedy, asking the enduring question: What happens now? After the camera crews and journalists -- whose overabundence feeding frenzy of coverage -- have stopped filming and calling, how do we pick up the pieces -- in the community and within ourselves? These questions are asked in abundence from every side of the spectrum as we not only see the main character deal with the death of his girlfriend April, but also see various other characters deal with the loss of friends -- both the victims and the killer.

I was a bit surprised that Robinson actually filmed the tragic event as, from the description, I thought it would merely be about the aftershocks of the tragedy. However, he shot the event in a way that was neither exploitive nor graphic. "April" is an emotionally gripping, haunting film. So much happens within the first half hour that I was expecting the film to end at any moment without fully satisfying my emotional investment (something that disappointingly happens quite frequently with indie films). But, to my surprise, the movie kept going and each character's journey was satisfyingly fulfilled but without that sense of finality that most studio films go for nowadays; there was still that feeling that these characters will have to live with the repercussions of this event for the rest of their lives. I also liked the fact that the shooter was not the major focus in this film; but that the focus lay on the victims and particularly the survivors. Kelly Blatz, who plays lead character Sean, and Rachel Lien, who plays April's best friend Jessica, are both superb and should be in many more movies. And composer Dominik Rausch's score is hypnotically beautiful and memorable all the way through. My only issue with the film was that there wasn't enough focus on characters whose impacts would've increased the story: namely Tom Arnold's math teacher Mr. Blackwell (who mirrors Dave Sanders) and the briefly featured Vicki (played by Janel Parrish, who has a major credit on the movie poster), who I wonder how she fit in amongst these characters. It seemed like they had great introductions only to be prematurely dropped from the overall story. I also was hoping for slightly more on the budding romance between Sean and April. However, since the time frame of this film is one school week, and there were flashbacks that could still give you a decent idea of their relationship, I guess that their scenes didn't leave too much out and wasn't too lacking.

Nevertheless, "April Showers" is a tremendously emotional movie that will take hold of you (particularly if you're a parent) long after the credits have stopped rolling. This is an intense piece of filmmaking with beautiful cinematography by Aaron Platt. I look forward to more of Mr. Robinson's work.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2009
I finally had the chance to see this movie now that it is out on DVD and I'm glad I made the effort. The movie is strong in all areas, the actors do an exceptional job of the nightmarish feel of the flick. More than likely they have never experienced, first hand anything of this magnitude, yet they were able to convey an all too real sense of the confused numbness that follows a tragedy like this.

The media reaction is the common dig and pry while sporting a psuedo charade of caring and understanding. The movie shows human nature to find an enemy someone to focus our anger on, and displays the political agendas that are usually pushed forward in light of these tragedies. The movie at times almost feels like the camera is itself just a news camera walking through the thick of this horrendous event capturing real loss, emotion and confusion.

Personally I felt the part of this movie that stood out most to me was the point of view of the film itself. We've seen school shooting movies an endless list of movies all trying to tackle the question of "Why?" Many simply tell the killers stories, the victims appear as they appear to the killers, faceless, emotionless and insignificant. Yet this film focuses on the all too often forgotten about victims, the survivors themselves. The survivors are left with the guilt, the sorrow and the inevitable torment while they question what they could have done to change what has happened. This is where this movie truly finds itself is in it's ability to show us the after effects on those who experienced these horrific events. I cannot imagine how I would ever be able to get up and be able to live a normal life again after living through something this awful and senseless.

The movie itself sums it up best during the end credits when the film is dedicated not only to the victims of every school shooting in the United States (killers who died are included), But also to all those who survived. This film doesn't provide any answers, it doesn't solve the questions we keep asking when these events occur. It does however help us, if just for a moment empathize with those who've been there, and for that moment the world feels just a little less detached.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2010
Good School shooter movie. Liked the ending (that there is no happy ending for something like that) But what really stuck out in my head was how GREAT the acting is in this film! You are going to see the kids in this film down the road in bigger things. Mark my words. See it for the story & really enjoy the skill of all involved.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I had the pleasure of viewing this fine film in the theatre. Unfortunately, powers that be rated this film "R", which it is not. While it does not avoid the harsh reality of events surrounding a high school shooting, it does not dwell on the violence. Rather, this film gives an entirely new perspective to the affect on and trauma endured by the survivors of such an event. It gave me a whole new perspective, not only on the individual, but violence in schools as a whole. Every American should watch this film.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2009
This film was one of the best films of recent memory that dealt with the Columbine shooting. Told from an insider's perspective, we can see the chaos and the fear first hand. We experience the uncertainty of friends that may have been lost coupled with the crushing reality of those that were. We see the inevitable overbearing hand of the media interfering in the lives of the survivors and more importantly, we see the psychological toll that it all takes on them. Far from being plot heavy and full of action, this movie centers on the emotional impact of the event and not on the shooting itself. This was a most welcome change of view.
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on September 25, 2009
This is a well made movie based on the mental trauma suffered by a survivor of the Columbine High School tragedy. Kelly Blatz was simply wonderful, great acting. Although an event like this is unlikely to happen in my country as we have very strict `gun laws' nevertheless this true story make us become more aware of our responsibilities as parents and teachers. Parents must always look for signs of depression and aggression in their children and teachers must be just as aware to prevent such a tragedy from occuring. In the aftermath of such a tragedy the adults again play an important role to help survivors overcome the trauma. See it, experience it and learn from it.
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on March 6, 2014
This movie is based on true events. The people that created this movie did an excellent job of catching the essence of the film while building a story around it.
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on February 3, 2013
Despite the kind of cheesy name ("April Showers"? Really?), I was impressed by this movie. Told from the perspective of the victims of a school shooting, the movie is like a roller coaster in that it shoots the viewer from a stand-still to 100 mph in about a blink of an eye. Cast with a majority of unknowns (at least to me), the acting was excellent, and the script realistic, if a little heavy on the romantic subplot.

I liked this movie so much better than "Elephant" (which could have been condensed to about 15 minutes), and is an excellent companion to "Zero Day", which focuses on the killers and their motives.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2009
April Showers (based on actual events) focuses on the aftermath of a devastating school shooting. This perspective is what makes this film so compelling. We get to see what happens next. How do the students and families cope? How does a community heal from such trauma? Seeing this perspective from the mind of a Columbine survivor makes it even more compelling.

I was completely ripped apart by the story of one student (played brilliantly by Daryl Sabara) who suffers post-traumatic stress following the shooting. It's so well done, real and felt.

There are images from this beautifully shot film that I'll never get out of my mind. (At least that's how it feels, they're still there months later.) The cinematography and score are both brilliant and tragic.

This is a film that I feel would make a huge difference for teenagers and parents- in creating an open dialogue. I hope that it reaches people far and wide for this reason alone.
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