SYN Reviews: ‘I Used To Be Normal’

Used to be Normal header


Reviewed by Chelsea King

Preview screening provided by publicists

Never did I think that I would leave the cinema after watching a film where I related equally to both the 16-year-old teen and the 60-year-old mother.

Documentary I Used To Be Normal details the boyband phenomenon, following several self-proclaimed fangirls across generations. From Beatlemania in the 60s to the modern-day One Directioners, the film delves right into the hysteria in an attempt to find logic. While “fangirls” are often dismissed – mainstream media happily depicting them as young, naive, and foolish – the documentary succeeds in finding justice for their dedication and unashamed passion.

All the narratives seemed to be somewhat intertwined despite the fact that they were all discussing their love for different bands. I found myself becoming fond of said 16-year-old wearing five One Direction bracelets, regardless of the fact that I cannot stand listening to the band. I felt her emotions, her seemingly unexplainable love for these boys; however in my reality, I felt these emotions for other musicians and artists within my realm. Sometimes our love for certain things within our lives (in this case, boybands) is incomprehensible, but that doesn’t mean that these feelings should be disregarded.

In fact, these boybands all seemed to play integral parts within their lives. Their music and fandom provided a steadfast, particularly when things weren’t so resolute. From breakups, to the loss of loved ones, the music provided hope and light when it was needed.

Furthermore, the film features beautiful sketches, animations, photographs and fonts, seamlessly tying the stories together. For two young Australian filmmakers (Jessica Leski and Rita Walsh) the interviews are pieced together almost immaculately. I felt enthralled listening to a stranger unpack their love of Take That, even though I have never listened their music before.

I felt a part of something while watching this documentary. There’s something in this film for everyone who has ever loved a band, which truthfully, is all of us. I no longer feel like I have to suppress my love of particular music and bands, for it is something that I have learnt to embrace.

I Used To Be Normal gives these women a voice that they have previously been denied. It is incredibly important that these experiences and feelings are validated, and it is incredibly important that this film exists.


I Used To Be Normal will be released in cinemas on November 22nd.

Category: ,