This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser
WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 51 mins.
DIRECTOR: Thor Freudenthal
WRITERS: Based on Novel by Julia Walton, Screenplay by Nick Naveda
STARRING: Charlie Plummer, Andy Garcia, Taylor Russell, Molly Parker, and Walter Groggins
Based on the novel by Julia Walton, we meet Adam (Charlie Plummer) who is hoping to graduate high school and pursue his dream of becoming a Chef in Culinary School. That is until the voices inside his head begin to take over his everyday life, sending his Senior year, and his life into a tailspin. When he is finally diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Charlie spends almost every waking moment, trying to get beyond this mental illness. Then when Charlie is forced to attend a new Catholic High School after a psychotic incident gives the Administrators no other choice but to expel him, he has a chance encounter with a new girl at his new school named Maya (Taylor Russell), who is as incredibly smart, as she is beautiful. Wanting to keep his demons at bay, and keep Maya from knowing about his mental illness, Charlie attempts yet another medication, trying to keep everything status quo. And when Charlie starts struggling in Math, he decides to set up Maya as his tutor, as a way to get to know her better, while improving his grades enough to graduate. But sadly, when this new medication he’s on starts to affect his senses ~ including his taste ~ Charlie decides that no medication is a better option, than the nasty side effects he is experiencing. Now, as Charlie begins to lash out from being unmedicated to his family, his new administrator and to Maya, he is forced to reevaluate the next steps he must take in his young life, if he truly wants to move beyond his mental illness in order to make all his dreams come true…
I give WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN! I am so excited by the fact that one of the first films to pop in movie theaters after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, is this very sweet, coming of age film, centering on the struggles that many, trying to deal with their mental illness. It is so profound in how it describes Schizophrenia, and its many facets,, that I was totally enthralled on how this storyline plays out throughout its entirety. And talk about amazing performances,,,Charlie Plummer gives an outstanding performance, portraying a young man in the midst of his teenage years, and how dealing with the everyday “crazy” that we all faced as teenagers, is exacerbated twofold as he tries to deal with his newly diagnosed mental illness, at the same time. I also hope that when they start nominating for best performances at the end of the year, his performance for this role receives the accolades it most rightfully deserves, as this young actor truly shines throughout this performance.
Taylor Russell is also absolutely fabulous in this film as the brainiac Valedictorian, who falls for Adam hard, not shying away from finding out who he really is, beyond his mental illness. WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS is one of those films that should be viewed by everyone over the age of 13, as it brings to light the many layers that those with Schizophrenia must face ~ and in a totally relatable way ~ giving everyone who views it a better understanding of how life crushing mental illness can be. Now, I’m sure there are those out there that are going to view this film, and decide that it just “sugar coats” the true pain and frustration that those with mental illness must face, but I was happy to see that we are bringing the struggles of mental illness to the forefront, and to our teenage population as well. thus shedding a new vision onto an issue many must face, and that we don’t see too often end up on the big screen, much less in such a real, and relatable way, If you would like to catch this film on the big screen like I suggest, it is NOW SHOWING locally in St. Louis @ the Regal Gravois Bluffs, B & B Festus 8, B & B Wildwood 10!, Streets of St. Charles 8, and the Marcus St. Charles Cinema.
Charlie Plummer and Andy Garcia in WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS Photo Credit: Jacob Yakob Courtesy of LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions