‘Words on Bathroom Walls’ film shows struggles of living with mental illness, power of compassion

“Words On Bathroom Walls” film about schizophrenia, 2020 | Screenshot: YouTube

LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions released the new film “Words on Bathroom Walls” Friday, and the eye-opening film depicts a teenager’s struggles with mental illness. 

Actor Charlie Plummer portrays a highschool senior battling demons caused by severe schizophrenia in the Thor Freudenthal (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid”) adaptation of Julia Walton’s YA novel of the same name. Plummer gives a riveting performance, and Christian viewers will appreciate the many spiritual components throughout the film.

From the screenplay by Nick Naveda, “‘Words on Bathroom Walls’ follows Adam (Plummer), a [teenager] with raging hormones that has dreams of becoming a chef.  Expelled halfway through his senior year, Adam is diagnosed with a mental illness that he keeps secret at his new school. Living in constant fear of being exposed, Adam finds a connection with Maya (Taylor Russell), an outspoken and fiercely intelligent girl who inspires him to open his heart and not be defined by his condition. With the love and support of his newfound romance and family, Adam is hopeful for the very first time that he can see the light and triumph over the challenges that lie ahead,” the film’s synopsis reads.

While the film contains strong language and mature content, it also features some faith themes. Many of the cinematically stunning scenes where Adam is seen struggling with schizophrenia were portrayed as spiritual battles that come in the form of visions or times he hears a demon-like voice leading him to rebel or even end his life. 

Warning: The following part of this article contains minor spoilers 

Things begin to change for the main character after he starts attending a Christian school. “The only person that can’t reject you is Jesus, right?” is a line from the film.

Throughout his time at school and while struggling to hide his mental illness, Adam meets a faithful priest to whom he confesses his lack of belief in God. At one point, the priest, played by Andy Garcia, tells Adam not to overthink God, but rather “confess your sins, He is faithful, and just to forgive.”

“God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear,” is another biblical verse featured in the mainstream movie.

The movie depicts Adam’s struggles as an individual, his family’s struggles, and even those of his love interest. The overarching theme seems to be that “love and honesty can help” a person battling mental illness.

A standout line from “Words on Bathroom Walls” that brought the message of the film to the hearts of the viewer came from Adam who said: “When you have cancer, people flock to your aid, when you have schizophrenia you end up on the street and can’t wait to die.”

The filmmakers and actors truly showed that a person who has an illness is not solely defined by their condition, be it physical or mental. 

“Words on Bathroom Walls” is now showing in theaters and is the first theatrical release for LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions following the COVID-19 lockdowns.

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