I Used to Be Normal: a Boyband Fangirl Story

Director Jessica Leski
Australia, USA / 93 min. / 2018 / English / English subtitles

A lucid and revealing essay on the phenomenon of the “boybands” through the personal experience of four women ranging from teens to sixty-somethings, and from One Direction to the Beatles.


With an empathic, reflective and non-ironic lens, this film explores the role played by different boybands — specifically The Beatles, Backstreet Boys, Take That and One Direction — in the lives of four women from Australia and the United States, aged between 16 and 64 years old. They all share their most vivid dreams about these idols, with disarming sincerity. And, as we learn more about each one of them and their trials and tribulations (be they with their family, or cultural, ethnic or sexual identity), we understand how their passion for one group or another has accompanied them at all times or even helped them be who they are. One of the characters, a professional strategist for brands, even sketches an impeccable and entertaining outline of the essential characteristics of a boyband. The result: a deeply feminine reflection about behaviour among these type of fans, which is usually judged in a superficial and condescending way by men. A call, in short, to all of us to question our prejudices before the deafening scream of a crowd of fans.

I Used to Be Normal: a Boyband Fangirl Story
Friday 5 at 19:30

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Sydney Film Festival, IFFR
The Beatles, Take That, Backstreet Boys, One Direction
Johanna Scott
Music composer
Jeo Palmer
Sound designer
Simon Rosenberg
Music supervisor
Jessica Moore, Margot Calrck
Jessica Leski, Rita Walsh