Film Review: Mad To Be Normal

Robert Mullan’s Mad To Be Normal offers good performances from its cast. Whilst the attention to detail is commendable, the film is not captivating.

In the 1960s, psychiatrist R.D. Laing offers a different type of treatment to those afflicted with mental health conditions. His methods, which focus on listening to patients over harsh procedures, are the cause of some controversy…

Mad To Be Normal is a biopic of Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing. Rather than a traditional biopic, the film concentrates on shorter, critical period of the subject’s life. The film begins by depicting Laing as a quasi-celebrity; it is a good introduction to an interesting character. Much of the film is viewed through the prism of his relationship with Angie, who he meets early on in the narrative.

There are two main strands in Mad To Be Normal. The first concentrates on Laing’s career and his experimental therapy. The stark contrast between his methods and the generally held beliefs at the time are well presented by director Mullan. A scene in which one of the patients, John, undergoes harsh treatment in hospital provides an excellent contrast to Laing’s freedom, emphasis on talking, and loud shirts. The second strand concentrates on Laing’s personal life, although as necessary, these overlap.

One of the most interesting aspects of the film is Laing’s relationship with his patients. He seems to have a genuine bond with them rather than a purely professional relationship. The film hints at a wider connection between Laing and his patients, but this is not explored in any detail. His relationship with Angie is tumultuous, perhaps revealing more about her than about him.

David Tennant offers a strong and commanding performance as Laing, which is the highlight of the film. He is offered good support from Elisabeth Moss, Gabriel Byrne, and Michael Gambon. Mullen shows great attention to detail in his depiction of 1960s London; the sepia tone, the costumes, and the cigarette smoke go a great way in setting the scene. Mad To Be Normal is thought-provoking, even if it does not pack a punch.

Mad To Be Normal will be available on VOD from 13th August 2018.

Previews: Halloween Poster, The Happy Prince, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, which include the brand new Halloween poster, Hereditary, The Happy Prince, and more…

Halloween Poster

Here is the new poster for the upcoming Halloween. Forty years since the original Halloween film, and twenty since Jamie Lee Curtis reprised her famous role in Halloween H20, Michael Myers is back once more. Curtis is joined by Judy Greer and Will Patton, and the film is directed by David Gordon Green (Your Highness, Stronger). With John Carpenter among the Executive Producer, Halloween hits the big screen on 19th October 2018.

Hereditary Trailer

Above is the new trailer for Hereditary. The upcoming horror is about a family who reveal something sinister about their ancestry when the matriarch of the clan passes away. Hereditary stars Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne, and is the feature debut from writer-director Ari Aster. The film is set for release on 15th June 2018.

The Happy Prince Trailer

The Happy Prince is written, directed, and stars Rupert Everett. The film is his directorial debut. Everett stars as Oscar Wilde, portraying the writer in his final years. The film also stars Colin Firth and Emily Watson. The Happy Prince will be released in UK cinemas on 15th June 2018.

Life of the Party Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for Life of the Party. The comedy stars Melissa McCarthy as a newly divorced mum who decides to go back to college. The film is directed by McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone, and penned by the couple. Also starring Gillian Jacobs and Maya Rudolph, Life of the Party will be released in UK cinemas on 11th May 2018.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Trailer

Above is the last trailer for the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The sequel sees Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles from 2015’s Jurassic World. Jeff Goldblum also reprises his role from the franchise. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom launches onto UK screens on 6th June 2018.