RD Laing biopic starring David Tennant and Elisabeth Moss to close Glasgow Film Festival

Former Doctor Who actor to attend world premiere of Mad To Be Normal

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Mad To Be Normal with David Tennant and Elisabeth Moss

David Tennant in Mad To Be Normal

Glasgow Film Festival's Opening and Closing Galas stay close to home this year. The festival has just announced that it will kick off its 2017 programme with the European premiere of Irish drama Handsome Devil and close with the world premiere of RD Laing biopic Mad To Be Normal, starring David Tennant.

Handsome Devil (Wed 15 Feb) is director John Butler's second film following 2014's comedy The Stag, and tells the coming-of-age story of 16-year old Ned (Fionn O'Shea), an artistic kid sent to an all-boys Irish boarding school where rugby is religion. A fish-out-of-water, Ned finds himself bullied and alone until he bonds over music with new roommate and star rugby player, Conor (Nicholas Galitzine). The film also stars Sherlock's Andrew Scott as an inspirational English teacher.

After this uplifting opening film, GFF wields considerable star-power in closer Mad To Be Normal, which sees Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, High-Rise), Michael Gambon (Fortitude, Harry Potter series) and Gabriel Bryne (The Usual Suspects) join David Tennant for a powerful look at the charismatic and controversial 1960s Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing. Robert Mullan's film provides a particularly powerful account of Laing's Kingsley Hall experiment.

Both Mullan, Tennant and other cast members are expected to be in attendance for the Closing Gala screening on Sun 26 Feb.

'Handsome Devil is a real crowdpleaser with a joyous spirit that makes it a perfect film to launch the festival,' said festival co-director Allison Gardner. 'David Tennant gives an absolutely stunning performance as RD Laing in Mad To Be Normal and it seems only fitting that Glasgow should have the honour of hosting the premiere of a film about one of the city's most complex, charismatic figures.'

The full GFF programme is announced Wed 18 Jan.

Glasgow Film Festival, various venues, Wed 15 Feb–Sun 26 Feb.

Mad To Be Normal

  • 2 stars
  • 2017
  • UK
  • 106 min
  • Directed by: Robert Mullan
  • Cast: David Tennant, Michael Gambon, Elisabeth Moss

Ronnie Laing (Tennant) is a chain-smoking, hard-drinking maverick psychiatrist presiding over an East London community treating psychosis with empathy and LSD. Mullan’s film plays too fast and loose with the details of Laing’s life, going for soap opera histrionics; Tennant’s manic energy is the only plus here.

Handsome Devil

  • 3 stars
  • 2016
  • Ireland
  • 95 min
  • Directed by: John Butler
  • Cast: Fionn O'Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott

Ned (O’Shea) is a young misfit in an authoritarian boarding school, forced to share a room with good-looking, charismatic Conor (Galitzine), but who finds guidance from unconventional teacher Dan Sherry (Scott). Scott gives a lively performance and O’Shea and Galitzine are impressive, but the details are unpersuasive and…

Glasgow Film Festival

Having launched in 2005, the Glasgow Film Festival has grown and grown: during that debut year, 6000 cinephiles passed through the doors, while 42,000 attended in 2016. Of course there are top-notch premieres, retrospectives and special guests (past visitors have included Richard Gere, Joss Whedon and Alan Rickman) but…

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