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‘Words on Bathroom Walls’ is the new coming-of-age film representing mental illness

words on bathroom walls

A new teen romance film titled, 'Words on Bathroom Walls' is set to release into Australian cinemas on December 10, and this iteration is centred around mental illness in a refreshing and necessary take on adolescence.

Directed by Thor Freudenthal and written by Nick Naveda, the film is based on the novel 'Words on Bathroom Walls' by author Julia Walton. The film will star Charlie Plummer, Andy García, Taylor Russell, AnnaSophia Robb, Beth Grant, Molly Parker and Walton Goggins. The plot follows a boy in his senior year of high school by the name of Adam Petrizelli who has a fractured relationship with his stepfather and plans to go to culinary school after graduating.

After an episode in science class, adam is admitted to hospital and diagnosed with schizophrenia. He transfers schools in hope to start fresh and manage his diagnosis when the introspective teen meets Maya, a brilliant classmate who encourages him to open his heart and supports him as he navigates his mental illness.

The film itself is said to be a sensitive addition to a genre that is rarely done justice. Where classic coming-of-age issues are married with the disorienting reality of living with schizophrenia, 'Words on Bathroom Walls' fills in the gaps for many teenagers who haven't yet seen themselves adequately represented.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Freudenthal noticed a gap in the way teens with schizophrenia are represented on screen, and believed there was an "opportunity for a very different kind of representation of mental illness with schizophrenia." He recalls. "We could create a person onscreen that was neither a mad genius nor a violent criminal, but who a lot of people could even see themselves in the way I did when I read the book," he says.

"I loved that there was a sort of tender, compassionate, funny tone where Adam gets at some of the really tough issues with self-deprecating humour which really functions as a weapon of sorts against his pain."

Watch the trailer, below.


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