WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS – A Review by Hollywood Hernandez
After seeing Words on Bathroom Walls I took a long time trying to understand the meaning of the title of the movie. The best meaning I could come up with is Words on Bathroom Walls is about wanting to be accepted and feeling normal. David, played by Charlie Plummer, suffers from schizophrenia. Early in the movie, he sees the graffiti on the wall while standing at a bathroom stall and it makes him laugh; feel normal. That’s something that David desperately desires.
In the movie, David, after being expelled from his previous school, enrolls in a Catholic high school where everyone at the school agrees it would be best if David kept his mental illness a secret. So David attends classes while trying to be normal but he is far from normal.
He hears voices, has hallucinations that look like they are straight out of a horror movie, and sees three imaginary friends, a hippy chick, a perverted guy, and a huge dude who acts as David’s bodyguard. I loved the way we were shown things from his point of view. Imagine what it must be like as you try to make friends and live an everyday life.
Even with all of that is going on in his head, with the help of medication, David is still pretty laid back and pensive about the issues he’s facing. He recalls a great story in the movie about how mental illness is not accepted by the public.
He relates a story about a girl in school who had terminal cancer. She was given a wish by an organization that grants wishes for sick kids. It made him wonder why diseases like cancer were supported while mental illness is not.
He has support from his mother, Molly Parker, and a smart young honor student Mya (Taylor Russell). She’s hiding a secret as well. Her father is unemployed and her family lives in a shack on the bad side of town. When David takes Mya to the prom and stops taking his medicine he ends up in the hospital from a mental breakdown and his family and girlfriend show up to give him support and show him he is loved.
The parish priest, played by Andy Garcia, didn’t know about David’s condition until he had his episode at the senior prom and ended up in a mental hospital. Garcia gives an excellent portrayal in his role, making the young man understand before he can be accepted by others, he must first learn to accept himself. David reveals his diagnosis of schizophrenia to the entire school at his graduation and things get a little better. His stepfather, who previously hid all the knives in the house because he was afraid of being harmed by one of David’s outbreaks, eventually comes around and comes to accept David’s mental illness.
Words on Bathroom Walls is a drama/comedy. There are some very melodramatic scenes in the film with a few chuckles mixed in. This is an excellent tale about mental illness. The movie shows how much mental illness is misunderstood and the trauma involved by someone who is dealing with it in their life.
The movie lasts 1 hour and 51 minutes and is rated PG-13. I loved this movie and on my “Hollywood Popcorn Scale” I rate Words on Bathroom Walls a JUMBO.