Produced and filmed by Jessica Leski, I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story is a documentary based on the fandom that surrounds distinct bands at the time they were relevant up to the present day. It takes audiences through the journey of Beatlemania in the late 70’s/ early 80’s, the 90’s with Take That, the turn of the century with Backstreet Boys fever, and the latest boy band mania, One Direction.
The documentary itself focuses on 4 generations of fans and the effect the bands had on them, ranging from emotional support to giving them the courage to make life changing decisions; helping them fit in and giving them something to bond over or simply to drool over. It’s all there to keep you engaged.
The thing that stands out from the get go is the relatable aspect. It tells you that across gender, age and ethnic groups, we all felt the same, the euphoria and the sadness and in Take That’s case, the heartbreak when they broke up. A simple message that’s passed to the viewer through 4 different generations and 4 different bands, is that you aren’t alone.
Coming in just over 1.5 hours though, the formula starts to get a little stale. If not for the fact that I myself am still a Backstreet and Beatles fan, I wouldn’t see myself sticking around to watch other people’s reactions to One Direction or Take That, for that matter. The average viewer with no ties to either big band or the basic millennial will not relate or find common ground that the film tries to communicate.
To be somewhat too hypercritical or “nitpicky”, if there was more inclusion with another band and perhaps the perspective from a male subject, the documentary may feel more like Backstreet Boys with all 5 members, complete instead of that time when they were just 4 … Incomplete. Fully intended.
However, in a world where everyone has a story to tell and documentaries are a plenty, I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story manages to show you something you knew existed, that you aren’t quite sure you wanted to see, but that you’re glad you sat through until the end.
Verdict: 6.5/10 Vinyl Records
Watch the trailer for I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story here: