Director Thor Freudenthal (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) takes Nick Naveda’s scripting of Words on Bathroom Walls and brings Julia Walton’s insightful novel to the display screen as a richly compelling masterpiece. The result’s a probably timeless movie about coming to phrases with psychological sickness whereas coming of age on the similar time.
Adam (Charlie Plummer) is a median teenager till his father decides that he has higher issues to do than be a husband and father. He and his mom then don’t have anything left to cling to however one another. To assist her cope, Adam begins to cook dinner for his mother, getting higher and higher till he has desires of culinary college. But lurking within the background are voices, hallucinations, and psychotic incidents that he doesn’t share. When his mother remarries, they worsen to the purpose that Adam has a serious breakdown, forcing him to alter colleges. This transfer, mixed with a brand new therapy for his schizophrenia, permits Adam the chance to see a future the place he makes new pals and goes to culinary college. But earlier than that may occur, Adam has to get out of his personal manner and hold the individuals inside his head off that path, as properly.
The script is tight, exhibiting the development of wellness, sickness, hope, and setback with out ever turning into preachy, educational, or boring. It provides an correct view of psychological sickness with out being pushy about acceptance. Instead, it shows how not solely somebody with the sickness should cope, however the various ways in which these round them react and cope as properly. Nothing ever appears pressured, and the motion is fluid from the primary moments to the closing credit.
Freudenthal understands the workings of the adolescent thoughts higher than any director since John Hughes, and it exhibits via the benefit of the actors’ portrayals. They don’t look like a lot performing a component as strolling via their very own fears, loves, and hopes. This is true of the atypical schizophrenic Adam proper right down to the standard high-school bully, each on and off campus. Even the background characters, with their dialogue, smiles, and smirks, end filling each scene’s body. Plummer’s portrayal of a teen tortured by each a psychological sickness and the whole lot that occurs as one is maturing is especially impressed; he might be an actor to observe through the years. Not to be discounted is Taylor Russell’s efficiency as his pal Maya, carrying her personal load of teenage troubles. And regardless that their elements are small, Walton Goggins as Adam’s stepfather and Andy Garcia because the Catholic college’s resident priest are each notable turns that solely elevate the movie.
There isn’t any cohesive option to present what it’s prefer to reside with schizophrenia, particularly since traits of the sickness may be the identical amongst people, however private experiences differ broadly. The filmmakers selected to share a generally exaggerated, generally subdued model of the dysfunction. They tasked their visible results division to supply the overall really feel of the disconnection and disjointed ideas and experiences somebody struggling this sickness may encounter. They delivered, permitting the viewers to expertise a lot of what Adam does from the within out slightly than taking a look at schizophrenia from the surface in but once more.
Words on Bathroom Walls is at instances charming, and at different instances disturbing, however at no level is it boring or unentertaining. As far as movies addressing each teen points and psychological well being, this one leaves a everlasting mark.