With as many health issues as I have, including some mental and emotional-based ones, I most certainly can relate to the plight of others who face their own health challenges on a daily basis. Maybe that’s why my heart connected so much to the very first movie I finally got to see in theaters since COVID shut them all down back in March of this year.
“Words On Bathroom Walls” is the name of the movie I saw and is a stunning masterpiece of a film about a teenage boy named Adam (played incredibly well by Charlie Plummer) who gets diagnosed with schizophrenia midway through his senior year of high school. Talented on so many levels, especially in the kitchen where he frequently recreates culinary masterpieces without any formal training, Adam’s sole desire is to go on to chef school and eventually, own his own restaurant. But after a severe schizophrenic breakdown in chemistry class causes his best friend to get seriously injured by some chemicals, Adam gets removed from his regular high school and instead, is enrolled into a local Catholic high school with the help of his mother Beth (played by Molly Parker), a person who never gives up on trying to find a cure for her son’s mental disorder. Conditions for Adam’s enrollment are made quite clear from the onset by head nun, Sister Catherine, (played by Beth Grant). He must maintain an A average and remain medicated and stable. Having had such a terrible experience at his former high school, Adam vows to take his medicine and do his best to keep his mental health issues a secret at his new school, but it becomes apparent how difficult that may be upon meeting Maya Arnez (played by Taylor Russell). That’s mostly because Adam continues to react to his ongoing schizophrenic presences whenever she is around, which include Joaquin (played by Devon Bostick), Rebecca (played by AnnaSophia Robb), a person known only as the Bodyguard (played by Lobo Sebastian), and a dark and sinister voice that often tells Adam to do bad things to himself. Will Adam be able to keep his secret and finish high school without any incidents or will his mental disorder ruin everything, including his cooking school dreams? “Words On Bathroom Walls” is most assuredly “The Beautiful Mind” of this millennia and a far younger generation.
Overall, this movie truly touched me. With every passing feeling of helplessness Adam felt due to his schizophrenia, I felt it too. Living with my own set of mental health issues and physical limitations due to chronic pain, I often have felt like an outcast in society myself, unable to ever achieve any of my deepest dreams and desires in life. And while I personally have never dealt with schizophrenia, “Words On Bathroom Walls” really helped me to understand the disorder as much as “A Beautiful Mind” with Russell Crowe did for me eons ago.
Living with chronic physical pain is one thing, and far easier to deal with than living with a mental disorder that controls just about every aspect of my life. The hypochondria and OCD I regularly battle robs me of becoming mindful and present, like on my recent vacation I took with my partner Chris.
So, I absolutely have a lot more compassion now for all the souls on this planet who continue to struggle with schizophrenia. I’m thankful for all of you and for enjoying “Words On Bathroom Walls” as much as it did. Playing out much like a John Hughes movie, I highly recommend seeing this film, as it’s sure to become a classic for a new generation.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawsson