There was no more charismatic or controversial a figure during the swinging
'60s than Scottish psychiatrist R D Laing. Dubbed “the white Martin Luther
King” and the “high priest of anti-psychiatry”, Laing was as famous as
Dylan. In 1965, he established Kingsley Hall in East London as a
medication-free community for those seriously affected by schizophrenia.
His methods, which involved experimenting with LSD on his patients and
practicing a form of self-healing known as metanoia, flew in the face of a
medical establishment that considered Laing a dangerous radical.
Mad To be Normal offers a powerful account of Laing’s Kingsley Hall experiment with a
stunning performance from David Tennant that truly gets under the skin of
an utterly compelling figure. Tennant’s nuanced, complex work conveys a
sense of Laing’s immense personal charm and the combination of intelligence
and arrogance that made him equally revered and reviled. The film also
captures the darker side of a mercurial man who rarely made it easy for
those who dared to get close to him, especially his lover Angie (Elisabeth
Moss). A magnificent ensemble cast includes heartrending performances from
Michael Gambon and Gabriel Byrne.