Words on Bathroom Walls; By Far The Best Film, Upon Reopening the Theaters. Grade: B+
Words on Bathroom Walls tells a story of a senior in high school named Adam (Charlie Plummer), whom is extremely talented in cooking, as the future holds a place for him in Culinary Arts. However Adam deals with a serious Mental Illness known as schizophrenia, as he hears voices in his head, as well as he can see people who are really not there. Adam gets into a major accident in school due to his schizophrenia, causing a classmate to get injured in Chemistry class, which led to Adam getting kicked out of school. Adam is given a second chance at a Catholic School, as long as he keeps his grades up to a 3.5 GPA, passes an important exam, and keeps the school administration updated on his progress with his mental condition. Witness a young man go through the hardships of handling schizophrenia, while also handling the hardships of medication and feeling alone in this battle.
The Cinematography t’was solid in this film, one would be concern with how the imagery would look inside of Adams mind. Personally I felt this film did a fine job, the darkness shown when an entity comes across Adam’s mind looked just fine, when it could’ve been a complete disaster. The Score of this film was solid, nice composed music mixed with some swell tracks. The cast all in all was pretty damn good. Charlie Plummer playing Adam honestly was great, this on line with one of his best performances of his career so far. How Charlie portrays Adam on screen was extremely well done, as it felt relatable to all those struggling with mental health, as well as not being heard accordingly to how we should be. As a protagonist Adam is wonderful, though can be portrayed as a monster in his own reality, this is just an extremely sweet talented young man, that only wants one thing out of everyone... To be treated like a person, as well being there for him.
Taylor Russell playing Maya played a pretty good performance, as Adam’s romantic interest. An extremely smart gal, that has a genuine heart. It speaks heavy volumes as one can understand, why Maya is so forgiving and understanding, as she too struggles with her own personal life at home. It’s a character in which teaches the audience that a relationship doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect or normal, relationships are built on the foundation of patience, growth, and most certainly love. Lovely chemistry between Russell and Plummer, as when on screen it’s absolutely adorable. There’s plenty of swell supporting performances as well. Walton Goggins does a great job as Adam’s moms boyfriend, Andy Garcia plays a pretty cool performance as a wise and caring Priest, Molly Parker did a solid job as Adam’s mother, and of course Anna Sophia Robb was by far the best of Adam’s schizophrenia characters he imagined in his mind.
I do have some flaws with this film. One particular character in Adam’s mind I didn’t care much for at all. Some pacing issues as well here and there, as well as some corniness as well.
So before going into this film, I had no idea what this was about. Had not seen a single trailer, had not read the plot synopsis as well, all I saw was the romanticized poster showing both characters approaching a sensual kiss. So my first thought going into this film was, “Ah I can’t wait to experience a cute chick flick.” Oh boy... That is not what I got here at all, sure there are couple cute romantic moments, but it’s strictly a coming of age drama that takes on a serious subject. I was honestly stunned in what I watched, as far as the complete shift of tone I expected going in... As well as I couldn’t believe just how much I really liked this.
Often enough when it comes to films and TV shows, the way mental health is portrayed can sometimes either be unrealistic or insulting. 13 Reasons Why is a great example: A Show in which says they care about “Mental Health”, yet it has become a complete shit show, as they have not a single clue about kids struggling with mental health. But with Words on Bathroom Walls, whomever wrote this screenplay and the novel it was based on, knows exactly how young teenager whom struggle with mental health feel. All I have to show you is one scene, of Adam talking to the camera on the differences between people caring for cancer as they give them their wishes and desires, meanwhile those struggling with a condition they can’t control, are called Monsters and are left in the streets screaming out randomly... I’m flat out impressed, that finally someone had the guts to tell it how it is.
The story at hand is wonderful. The journey in which Adam tries to redeem himself, as he has genuine help along the way thanks to Maya, was absolutely flattering. I truly cared about this character, as I rooted for him from start to finish, as he’s a well done protagonist. The emotional moments in which this film has to offer, really can tear up some strings in your heart. It’s so raw, authentic, and heart shattering at times, to the point where I can see myself at the mirror, as I can relate to everything that’s going on. What I also like about the film is while Adam struggles with his condition, he also struggles with the idea that no one really is there for him, in which they are. Sometimes when we go through these battles of mental health, we sometimes forget who truly loves us, because we’re so used to be in this toxic environment in which our mind tells us constantly that no one is really there for you except yourself. All it really takes is effective communication in order to get things to the way we want to get done, as both sides though agree/disagree, have to be at least on the same page, as it’s developed extremely well here.
The romantic side of this film though is limited per say, I thought it was extremely adorable. I love how Adam and Maya begin their way in getting acquainted with one another, as they spend time together through the good and bad, as it’s felt like a realistic relationship through and through. I could argue I wanted more of that romantic vibe, but it however compliments itself well within this serious drama at hand. I had the theater all to myself while watching this, as it was absolutely enjoyable to openly shout and root on the characters and moments at hand. Wonderful screenplay that caters to both teenagers and adults, a flat out impressive film from start to finish.
Overall, Words on Bathroom Walls is a pretty damn good film. I highly recommend checking this one out, it is certainly worth seeing in theaters right now, as it’s by far one of the better reopening releases. -Mitch Smietana