Curiously enough, both focus on popular, charismatic characters thrust into the spotlight, who turned out to have feet of clay - at least as far as their personal lives were concerned.
Laing was the hell-raising, alcoholic, depressive Scot who put the psychedelic into psychiatry in Swinging Sixties London, and whose work still continues to divide opinion today. Excellently played here by Billy Mack, he famously argued that schizophrenia was caused by bad parenting.
And it is his treatment of his own family that is at the core of Pattison's attempt to shine a light into the mind of the enigmatic, Glaswegian maverick. This he does by having Mack fill in the need-to-know blanks of his life and career through loquacious monologues, while getting deeper under the skin of the man by showing how he deals with news of his 21-year-old daughter Susie's terminal illness when his first family get in touch. Laing was living in London, while they were on the breadline in Glasgow at the time.
The end result is an even-handed pen portrait that shows Laing as a conflicted and divided soul full of ego, epiphany and empathy: one eager to respond to the needs of patients on the one hand, yet blindly ambivalent to the needs of his own family on the other. A case of physician heal thyself, if ever there was one.
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