Adelaide Film Festival 2018: I Used to be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story

What: I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story (Madman Productions) dir. Jessica Leski

When: 19th October 7:00PM

Where: The GU Film House Adelaide

How much: $16 – $20, click here for ticket information

It’s not often you encounter a documentary that is almost entirely joyous and makes you beam ear to ear throughout, but I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story achieves this with ease.

This feature-length documentary follows four women across the generations, aged 16 through 64, and how their boyband obsession, at the peak of their popularity, shaped their lives. The film celebrates all things fangirl, from memory boxes filled with newspaper clippings and fan mail, to online fan clubs and VIP meet-and-greets.

Beatles fangirl Photo Credit: Madman Productions

I Used to Be Normal has an adorable scrapbook, collage-type aesthetic, with bright animations woven into the narrative that illustrate the women’s recurring fantasies they have with their favourite band member.

What the subjects share beside their love of their boyband, is a deep emotional connection. The boybands came to their attention at just the right age of adolescence, where they could project their innocent sexual energy onto an ideal that was fairly tame and unattainable. It was interesting to notice that this obsession didn’t necessarily impact how they related to the opposite sex, but it moulded them into the women they grew up to be, the ambitions they developed, their family relationships, and later, their careers.

Beatles fangirls, 1964 Photo Credit: All That’s Interesting

The film prompts 90% laughter and beaming smiles, and the other 10% holding back tears when the women recount life’s trials and tribulations. The soothing presence this music had throughout their teenage years and into womanhood helped overcome living in an oppressive society, face disapproving parents and battle health problems.

The stories of these four gorgeous subjects were captured with tenderness through Leski’s lens. Leski’s intention to depict their stories not as clichés or stereotypes was clear and the film conveyed just how the strong, multi-faceted and talented the women are.

There is one more screening this upcoming Friday night (October 19th) of the energetic, feel-good I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story at the Adelaide Film Festival, a guaranteed uplifting watch. Screening to be followed by karaoke in the GU Film House Courtyard!

5 out of 5 stars

Paul McCartney, 1964 Photo Credit: Highway 61 Entertainment

Milly Farmer

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