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What to know: An eye-opener and excellent story about a teen overcoming his disease and taking over control of his life.
Recommended age 13-18
90 minutes
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WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS cover image Click to play video trailer
Words On Bathroom Walls portrays a wonderful example of schizophrenia in teenagers. It also adds a comedic essence to the illness, but it does not make fun of the disease. This movie is an eye-opener and a powerful phenomenon.

The story follows teenager Adam (Charlie Plummer) who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. He transfers to a Catholic school where he meets Maya (Taylor Russell). The two strike up a friendship immediately, and Maya tutors Adam. However, Adam is struggling with keeping the symptoms of his illness to a minimum.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder in which sometimes the person hears voices and has hallucinations. In Words On Bathroom Walls, we visually see a black cloud that torments Adam's mind. We meet three of the voices in his head which provide comedic relief with their big personalities: Rebecca (AnnaSophia Robb), Joaquin (Devon Bostick), and the Bodyguard (Lobo Sebastian). These comedic voices follow Adam and provide guidance along the way. We also meet Adam's mom and stepfather (Molly Parker and Walton Goggins) who help their son as best as they can.

Words On The Bathroom Walls, in its portrayal of Adam, definitely opens up a conversation that needs to be had amongst society: mental illnesses in teenagers. Adam feels as if there is no escape from his disease and as if he has to choose his sanity over his future. He feels pressured to be a perfect son, student and friend. He converses with his therapist throughout the movie and at one point he compares cancer and schizophrenic patients. He says when you're schizophrenic "people can't wait to make you someone else's problem." Adam feels as though his disease is a burden to himself and to his family.

The standout moral of the film is to not let your disease define you. Adam works hard to become a chef and he becomes frightened that he might not be able to graduate or work as a cook. However, he keeps working and overpowers his schizophrenia. He says that once he "was a bystander in his own life." In the end we see how he does not have any limits and how he now controls his life. Adam does not want to "end up on the bathroom walls," so we see him take the reins on his future. The depiction of this mental disorder might concern some viewers. A mature audience is advised.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Words On Bathroom Walls is available August 21, 2020 in theaters.

Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

see youth comments
After getting expelled at his previous high school, Adam, a teenager diagnosed with schizophrenia who dreams of becoming a chef, strikes up a connection with Maya, who inspires him not to be defined by his condition. With the support of his family and his newfound romance, Adam becomes hopeful that he can be honest about what he struggles with and triumph over the challenges that lie ahead.
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