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Mad to Be Normal 15 rating

David Tennant is inspired as the renegade Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, whose unorthodox therapeutic ideas chime with the radical spirit of 1960s counterculture.

Drama 2016 105 mins

Director: Robert Mullan


David Tennant is inspired as R.D. Laing, the renegade Scottish psychiatrist whose radical ideas on mental illness outraged the 1960s medical establishment. Robert Mullan's unshackled biopic focuses on Laing's establishment of Kingsley Hall therapy centre in East London, where schizophrenics are encouraged to talk through their experiences and LSD is the preferred prescription.

As Kingsley Hall becomes the epicentre of Laing's ideas around freedom, its libertarian ethos seems to chime perfectly with the counterculture climate of 1960s Britain. But the more immersed he becomes in the project, the more his personal life begins to deteriorate. Tennant is exceptional playing a very different doctor to the one with which he made his name, but a character just as singularly memorable. And Laing's story is further brought to life by a series of excellent supporting turns from Elisabeth Moss, Michael Gambon and Gabriel Byrne as the doctor's acolytes and patients.