I have never watched a film that brought to life the voices in my mind like this although Adam (Charlie Plummer) was experiencing schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that distorts those voices to such a degree that lives are adversely affected.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia affects 1 in 100 people. Symptoms include hearing voices and seeing visual hallucinations. Find out how…
I am not saying I have schizophrenia but there are a number of scenes in the film that I recognised.
Adam has three characters that give their view of what is happening.
The one I recognised the most was The Bodyguards. There are actually 3 of them but there is one that leads. I recognise him as the one who appears when I feel attacked. When I feel attacked I take a defensive position almost as instructed by the Bodyguard. It is as if the Bodyguard represents an automatic shutdown once an attack is perceived.
There is also Rebecca who is always calming him down and telling him everything will be ok. I recognise that voice although I have never named it.
The third character is Joaquin. Joaquin sees the world through a sexual lens. Do I admit to having a Joaquin? Of course, that voice weighs up sexual attractiveness.
There is also a deep threatening voice that has no character and is always turning what could be innocent into fearful. I recognise it as the irrational thoughts that go through my mind. I am no expert on schizophrenia but all that is described is amplified on a scale that interferes majorly with life.
In one scene Adam experiences psychosis in the school chemical lab which becomes full of sinister forces seeking to attack him (watch the trailer below). In his bid to escape, he causes a chemical to burn a friend. The friend does not understand what happened and as a consequence, he ends the friendship. Adam also gets expelled from school.
It is at his new school he meets Maya (Taylor Russell). They connect and as they go deeper he fears that he can never give Maya the relationship she deserves due to his schizophrenia. The film is as much about letting another decide whether their love can extend to the dark and twisted parts of us.
Or as Adam puts it,
You *have* to let people discover all your dark and twisty places inside. Because those are the people that can show you what’s real, when you can’t see that for yourself. It can be the beginning of everything… if you let it.