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Home > Written Reviews, Written Reviews > “WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS” – Experiencing Change

“WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS” – Experiencing Change

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

Very heart-rending, Words on Bathroom Walls takes a look at the mind and visions of a teen with an illness that affects the brain. Schizophrenia affects about 1.2% of the population of the USA, that’s about 1.5 million people. Empirically the film is not a horror story or a medical documentary, but a coming of age film that involves a young man who finds himself set apart from the norm. It’s also one of the best acted and written films you’ll see this year, but do not forget to bring some tissues and don’t be hesitant to laugh at all the right times.

Taylor Russell as Maya in WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS PHOTO CREDIT: Jacob Yakob COURTESY: LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions

High School senior Adam (Charlie Plummer) has been having a hard time in school by bullies who think he’s strange. Having been suspended from his current school, his single parent mother (Molly Parker) has had to deal with his mood swings, paranoid delusions and intense defensive attitudes. However, Adam is also more than intelligent, has a loving virtue and has dreams of being a great chef after graduation.

On this day, Adam gets introduced to his new school, a Catholic no nonsense high school run by Sister Catherine (Beth Grant) and Father Patrick (Andy Garcia). He has taken his new medication and accepts the fact that no one knows him for his illness and will have a chance to get the diploma needs to go on to Culinary College.

Charlie Plummer as Adam and Taylor Russell as Maya in WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS PHOTO CREDIT: Jacob Yakob COURTESY: LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions

Following one of his classes he takes a break and there he meets Maya (Taylor Russell) who is taking money from a student for tutoring. A senior, she’s at the top of her class and certain to be the valedictorian, but if she is caught it could be very damaging. The two seem to connect, but Adam takes it as just a chance meeting for a friendship. Feeling good about it, his erratic negative visions start to fade. Getting even closer to Maya, he asks her for tutoring help and they both look forward to each session at his home.

But, an incident has come back to haunt him and it starts Adam on a downward spiral. Director Thor Freudenthal takes his film into Adam’s world at the start of the film showing his delusions in the company of an agitator The Bodyguard (Lobo Sebastian), a pretty opposite sex idealist (AnnaSophia Robb), and a male teenager (Devon Bostick) who he aspires could be his alter ego. With the three popping up each time Adam has negative feelings, it shows the amount of aggression and quirkiness that he is feeling during a schizophrenic incident.

Charlie Plummer as Adam in WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS PHOTO CREDIT: Jacob Yakob COURTESY: LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions

Freuenthal then dives into Adams new found freedom from anxiety as the relationship between he and Maya develops. While Maya thinks of him as a normal teen trying to live with his divorced mother and her new husband, she has not witnessed what lies ahead in their relationship. I like the way Freuenthal shows how the psychological imbalance affects each scene and how Adam has to deal with his inner daemons just to save everything he is building at his new school.

The film really hits home when you think of how awful it must be for a child with schizophrenia. The emotional up and downs are more than a rollercoaster especially with his or her peers. The person is in an awkward positon, so those who have a need for power bully those that have none. It’s not like you can wear a tag on your chest in this modern world reminding others that you are a schizophrenic without being shunned ore even scared for that matter. Thor Freudenthal delivers the message nicely in his coming of age film.

Charlie Plummer as Adam and Taylor Russell as Maya in WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS PHOTO CREDIT: Jacob Yakob COURTESY: LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions

Words on Bathroom Walls has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for mature thematic content involving mental illness, some sexual references, strong language and smoking. The film should be ok for mature preteens with an adult present at a showing.

FINAL ANALYSIS: An excellent story and production. (5 out of 5 stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Charlie Plummer, Andy Garcia, Taylor Russell, AnnaSophia Robb, Beth Grant, Devon Bostick, Lobo Sebastian, with Molly Parker and Walton Goggins
Directed by: Thor Freudenthal
Written by: Nick Navela
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content involving mental illness, some sexual references, strong language and smoking
Running Time: 1 hr. 51 min.
Opening Date: August 21, 2020
Distributed by: Roadside Attractions
Released in: Theaters check local listings for time and location

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