Troubled teens: Charlie Plummer and Taylor Russell star in ‘Words on Bathroom Walls’.
WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS ***1/2 (111 minutes) M
A prime example of how to deal with tough subject matter in the parlance of the multiplex, Words on Bathroom Walls offers a solid, entertaining, touching dramedy about the true nature of schizophrenia as seen through the experiences of Adam (Charlie Plummer, very affecting), a high schooler who pines to be a chef.
Therapy and medication help Adam cope, but it’s a thorny ordeal, complicated by vivid hallucinations and his evolving relationship with high-IQ bad girl Maya (Taylor Russell).
Eliciting affecting performances from the two leads, director Thor Freudenthal (Wimpy Kid; Hotel for Dogs; Percy Jackson 2) handles the face-to-camera device well as Adam narrates his own story, sometimes honestly, sometimes unreliably.
Think of the film as A Beautiful Mind for young folk, graced by top supporting turns from Molly Parker as Adam’s mum and especially Walton Goggins (so good in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained & The Hateful Eight), who puts in a fabulous subdued performance as the distrusted step-dad. The film’s final run might just get you misty eyed.