Film Review: Words on Bathroom Walls

by Mary Palnau

Words on Bathroom Walls (2020) is a creative movie about a high school senior who is living with schizophrenia (the lead actor, playing Adam, is Charlie Plummer). Three actors are used to effectively portray the voices in Adam’s head. Many special effects are used to reflect other menacing voices.

The movie is presented  in both a light manner with humor as well as showing the dramatic impact of the illness on the boy as well as his family and his friendships. The movie is not always realistic and some viewers may be offended by the portrayal of schizophrenia using so much humor. But I found the movie to be compelling, thought-provoking, and uplifting.

Many years ago, my younger brother had his first psychotic episode when he was 18.  It would be a wonderful film to view with families or high school classes to open up conversations about mental illness. 

Words on Bathroom Walls is available on Amazon Prime Video, click here to view a trailer.

Other reviews of the film from across the web: The Guardian, Michigan Daily, The Washington Post.

Mary Palnau is a long-time volunteer for NAMI of Washtenaw County. She also volunteers with the Cancer Support Community of Ann Arbor, Wild Swan Theatre, and First Unitarian Church of Ann Arbor. She retired in 2017 after working for 43 years in administrative positions at the University of Michigan.

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