Mad to be Normal: Glasgow Film Festival 2017, Closing Gala

Mad to be Normal: Glasgow Film Festival 2017, Closing Gala

It was the 9th of January.

A grey, crisp morning sat outside my front window. But I was not paying attention. My phone screen had my eyes glued to it. My father tried to make early morning chit-chat. He received none in return.

Refresh refresh refresh.

Sweat was forming on my forehead but there was no time to wipe it off. I barked orders at my father to join in my quest. On my iPad I kept constant contact with my friend as we were both in this together. If we both fail, it’s all over.

Then, the worst happened.


My heart sunk to my stomach. I looked up at my ceiling with betrayal, curse words forming at my lips, my father trying to comfort me, but it wasn’t enough. I had failed.

Then, I got the message from my friend.


And with that, we were on our way to see Mad to Be Normal – the closing gala of Glasgow Film Festival 2017 – on the 26th of February.

We were nearly late but we made it.

The red carpet was laid out in front of the GFT’s entrance. Giddy young girls flashed their phones and squealed as David Tennant took pictures with them. I saw the back of his head. It was enough to quench my inner fangirl. 

Once into the GFT (through the side entrance) we were given a free drink: a whiskey cocktail in a small plastic bottle. I had a sip but took the rest home with me. I wasn’t going to turn down something free.

Then, on each seat, there sat a bag of popcorn. After paying £15 per ticket, I was feeling a bit better about the price.

Sadly the only cinema we could get tickets for was Cinema 2. However the GFT had a camera in Cinema 1 (where all the stars of the movie sat along with various other VIPs) so live footage was relayed to us. We were successfully kept in the loop and I couldn’t fault the organisers for that.

However, don’t ask me to clap for ScotRail. Are you kidding?

After a few thank-yous, a short speech from director Robert Mullan, and a hyper speel from David Tennant that made me fall in love with him even more, the movie began.

Instantly I wasn’t impressed. The titles seemed tacky and unprofessional to me. It only got worse when text appeared on the screen to tell me, “the sixties.” I initially thought this was because the time period would constantly change during the film but no other titles appeared stating a time period change. Furthermore, why have a title telling the audience where a particular scene is set? Just show them! It’s in Glasgow? Show a Glasgow landmark. They’re now in New York? Show something constantly associated with New York! That’s the beauty of film; you don’t need to tell the audience anything – just show them.

Furthermore, I felt the editing and transitions between scenes was sticky. I believe it was to show the mental state of the characters involved but seeing the screen fade to black only to quickly jump to another scene made the film feel amateur. Yet I did like the merging of archive footage with the film. Usually I hate this creative choice but for this film it worked perfectly and I wish they had used it more.

Putting the editing aside, I don’t have much to complain about this film. I mean, who can fault David Tennant? My boyfriend pointed out that while his initial introduction to the character was highly believable, it seemed like his commitment to the character fizzled out very quickly. This was possibly because footage of R D Laing is limited and the footage that is easy to find is from interviews where he stutters and takes long breaths.

However, after doing some research on the famous psychiatrist, I found an article the BBC wrote from Dr Laing’s son’s point of view. Adrian Laing was not impressed with Mad to Be Normal and even goes as far to state that he “doesn’t recognise” his father. After looking into R D Laing for myself, I discovered that his love interest, Angie (Elisabeth Moss) and colleague/good friend, Paul (Adam Paul Harvey) in the movie actually do not exist. History paints quite a different picture which I find highly disappointing. I would rather be told of the truth – or, at most, a highly exaggerated version of the truth.

Yet, I fail to find someone who can nail emotional scenes like Tennant. No one can make me cringe less than him during scenes that could easily turn into a cliche or hard to watch. He can easily break my heart with one voice break. Even if that’s not how it really happened.

“I helped bring you into this world, I’ll help you out of it.” 

Tears. I felt the script was very believable. It had the right mix of drama and comedy to keep me interested. But, seriously, what is it with people laughing at swearing? Is it a millennial thing to not be phased by a f-bomb anymore? 
Overall, I don’t have much to say. I can’t say I adored the film, and I wasn’t blown away, but I also didn’t hate it and would watch it again. I was mostly intrigued. There is no doubting that Dr Laing is a fascinating man. The way that the film was pitched to me, I expected more detail to be told of his studies into LSD and the film would revolve around this. However, it mostly focused on Dr Laing himself and how he dealt with controversy, family and work. After finding out that this is apparently incorrect, it only makes me more intrigued.

Maybe this was the purpose of the film, maybe it was not. Overall, I believe if you have the power to portray someone’s life on screen you should do it as accurately as possible in order to honour them. For example: Hacksaw Ridge

Although the film itself was interesting and compelling to watch, I have to admit it lost a lot of respect from me when I realised characters I sympathised with were merely fictional. My main advice? Take this Ronnie Laing as a character and not as a historical figure. 

Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed

Image from Glasgow Life

Every year I try to go on holiday; on holiday to my Gran’s that is, which is roughly 7 miles away from my own house. It’s not exactly adventurous – but we both go on adventures in the time I’m there. 

This year we did a tour of the local museums and the exhibitions they had on show. Firstly we trekked to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to see Gift for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed. It’s been running from the 14th of May and finishes on the 4th of September so there’s still plenty time to go see these amazing Egyptian relics. 

Since my Gran can get a concession, and I had my student card, we both got in for £3. The normal adult price is £5 so it’s not that expensive even without a discount. Under 16’s go free so all those primary school children studying the Egyptians in class have no excuse to miss it!

Image from Glasgow Life

The exhibition does have a lot on offer for children. This is probably because, all in all, there isn’t a great deal to see. There is a lot to read and understand, and as a child, I do think it would be quite boring. But don’t fret! There’s a whole section dedicated to interactive games for your tots and even a quiz. 

The quiz offers 3 prizes if completed. A family ticket to see the World Pipe Band Championships, a voucher to have a free meal at Kelvingrove’s restaurant (which is quite expensive but the food is always good) or a goody bag full of “treats.” 

I actually took part in the quiz. I always get offered these kids activities because I do look very young – sometimes it’s a curse, other times it’s a blessing. Although it was a bit embarrassing to be competing with 7 year olds, I enjoyed doing it. It definitely encourages the kids to read. Not many of the questions were easily guessed; you definitely had to do your research. Mum and Dad may have to help!

The interactive section of the exhibition included a few games, a sandpit so you can find your own fossils and a dress up section. A few children were there when I was and they seemed to enjoy it! Definitely take the camera if you’re planning on going – I don’t think you’re allowed to photograph the relics but I imagine the kids section would be fine.

However, the actual content of the show was very interesting. Ever since I can remember I’ve loved everything about the ancient Egyptians. Myself and my Gran can’t ever visit Kelvingrove without visiting the gods, the mummies and the sarcophagus. It’s all too fascinating to ignore. The new exhibition made me feel exactly the same. To see so many animal mummifications – REAL mummifications – was both amazing and repulsive. It definitely made you think about the rituals of these ancient civilians. 

Like, what’s the deal with cats?

Image from

One part of the exhibition that really made my jaw drop was seeing the clips of x-ray scans done on the mummies. Many screens sit throughout the room showing you different aspects of the scientific research. You’ve won back your £5 purely from that section alone!

Furthermore, being able to see a dead, mummified, much older than my Gran’s Gran’s Gran, head of a cat is utterly unbelievable. My nose definitely did wrinkle when studying it’s alien looking face. But I couldn’t stop looking all the same.

Overall, please take your kids to see this amazing exhibition – especially if they’re studying it at school! They will definitely learn something that they can take back to their school mates and impress them with.

Thank you for reading and please leave a comment if you have been to see this exciting show – or maybe I’ve convinced you? – Evee x

EatFilm: The Princess Bride

It’s been a while since I’ve taken to my keyboard and pitter-pattered out a review. It’s simply that time at uni; everything is due, everything is stressful, the teaching year is almost over.

What better way to get rid of stress than watching films, eh?

My boyfriend found the deal on EatFilm at Sloans presents The Princess Bride! He sent the link my way, followed by, “Can we pleeeeeease?!?” It didn’t take a lot of persuasion. The deal cost £9.95 and that included our tickets, a main meal and a glass of wine or beer. As a student, this price particularly caught my attention.

I had never seen The Princess Bride before. I know, it’s “inconceivable!” My boyfriend was worried I wouldn’t take to it, but quite the opposite happened. The plot was funny, silly and overall just charming. I’m not sure if I would label it a “children’s film” but many of my friends have watched it as children and have loved it since then. However, it is still a film that can be enjoyed by adults – a fact that was obvious to me as I sat, surrounded by adults, and became enveloped in their giggles and laughter. 

The story is based on William Goldman’s fantasy novel. A friend of mine who adores the movie also adores the book. So, if you found the movie entertaining, I would recommend you read the book as well. It is a tale about love, bravery, and a few jokes thrown in too. Each character is equally as intriguing as the next which made the whole story easy to become absorbed in. My only complaint is about one scene where our hero is fighting with a horrible creature. Princess Buttercup merely stands and watches the poor man struggle when her help could’ve ended the fight much sooner. A true feminist complaint, but it was the only one I could think of.

What added to this experience was the location. We found ourselves in the bar Sloans in Glasgow. Up two flights of stairs, away from the restaurant and bar, we sat in the “ballroom”. It was a stunning room. Each party had their own little table with a waiter or waitress to serve.

There were three choices for dinner. If I was to get really picky, I would say I would want more choice. As someone with many dietary requirements, there wasn’t a lot to choose from. However, the choices were displayed online so I knew what was on offer before I appeared. And the chips were amazing so I have a cheek to complain anyway.

Furthermore, since we were having our dinner, we were sitting on dining room chairs. These chairs are fine when you’re dining, but not so much when you’re relaxing to watch a film. However, I don’t expect them to bring in recliners after dinner so, again, I’ll stop complaining.

My boyfriend did point out he would have liked it if we could watch the movie and eat at the same time. I don’t think I agree, though. I liked being able to chat and admire the room as I ate. Plus, I would hate if I missed something in a film because I was too busy chasing the last chip around my plate. So I liked the set up the way it was.

Overall, I had an incredible night. During dinner there were adverts on the big screen (which was actually a decent size, by the way) of what’s to come. There are many more films I would love to see in that setting. EatFilm is a fantastic experience for those who love film, love food and love drink. Why wouldn’t you go along?

Thanks for reading! Leave me a comment if you feel so inclined. Thanks again – Evee 🙂 x