NORMAL is the story of three strangers who have avoided coming to grips with the aftermath of a senseless tragedy, and their role within it. While the accident claimed the life of one young man, it is slowly deconstructing everyone that was touched by it.
Catherine, Dale and their twelve-year-old son, Brady, are a family on the brink of collapse. Since the death of her elder son and star athlete Nicky, two years earlier, Catherine’s tightly wound control over her affluent, well-ordered life is slipping. Her surgeon husband has chosen denial, preferring to exist on the surface and move on, losing himself in work and routine. Her remaining child, tip toeing around his parents and never allowed to really grieve for his brother, is a constant reminder of what has been lost. As for Catherine, the shrine of Nicky’s untouched room, weekly visits to his roadside cross, alcohol, compulsive cleaning and endless grocery shopping, no longer serve as gatekeepers to her grief and rage.
Walt, a reluctant professor of literature, appears to be in the clutch of a midlife crisis. Increasingly apathetic in his life and detached from his wife Abby, his main preoccupations are the routine care he provides for his much-loved high functioning autistic brother Dennis, and the ever-present crutch of whisky. After Abby, walks out, Walt briefly finds solace in the arms of another student, Sherri, a young television reporter. However, when Sherri brings the past to life by reminding him that they had met previously, on the steps of a courthouse two years earlier, Walt realizes that his future depends on his facing his haunting memories.
Jordie was Nicky’s best friend. After serving time in a juvenile detention centre for car theft, he returns to his affluent childhood home and the coldness of his domineering psychologist father Carl. Jordie’s mother died several years earlier, and ever since, his relationship to his volatile father has been strained. Carl’s recent second marriage to a much younger woman, Elise, who he soon neglects, just adds to the tension in the household. Jordie tries to pick up the threads of his life but his gnawing guilt and sense of worthlessness leave him stalled. When Jordie embarks on a taboo affair, it brings his strained relationship with his father to a violent confrontation, and sets him free to leave the past behind.