This weekend on Netflix, Errol Morris‘ “Wormwood“ will unspool a pretty crazy true story that’s set against the backdrop of the United States’ MKUltra program. The secret operation saw the government, conduct secret experiments involving LSD, among other things. The potential of the drug was still being explored at that time, and across the pond, one doctor was also seeing how it could be used to help his patients.
Starring David Tennant, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Gambon, and Gabriel Bryne, “Mad To Be Normal” tells the story of freewheeling Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, who bucked medical conventions in order to provide unique solutions to patients who weren’t being adequately served by the system. In of those solutions involved using LSD. Here’s the official synopsis:
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.
“Mad To Be Normal” hits VOD on February 16th.