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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 26.92%
Average: 1.92%
Pretty Bad: 13.46%
Total Crap: 5.77%

3 reviews, 34 user ratings

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Lost and Delirious
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Rage more. Or something."
2 stars

'Lost and Delirious' is a sensitive coming-of-age drama about forbidden love, carpe diem, "Rage more," and unrequited lesbian passions in a girls' boarding school. The unrequited lesbian passions notwithstanding, is this as tedious as it sounds? It is my sad duty to report in the affirmative. What we have here is an ABC Afterschool Special — erotically charged Canadian division.

Fans of Mischa Barton shouldn't get all excited: her character (also the narrator), Mary "Mouse" Bradford, is as queer as a one-dollar bill. Mary, the new girl at boarding school, rooms with Paulie (Piper Perabo) and Tori (Jessica Paré), who surreptitiously swap spit on the roof, inspiring the naïve Mary to observe, "At first I thought they were just practicing for boys."

They, um, "practice for boys" in an R-rated sense — actually more like an unrated sense. See, the MPAA would presumably have no problem with Paulie shooting Tori (R rating if the wound's bloody, PG-13 if not) or even breaking her jaw (PG-13). But they have a big problem with Paulie and Tori tenderly enjoying each other's bodies. So in America the movie went out without an MPAA rating even though the sex scenes are, by any sane standards, exquisitely tame and tasteful. Since the actresses are topless and are enacting sexual fun between underage characters, we Americans apparently can't handle that. (Note: For some reason, the DVD carries an R label on the package.)

This is meant to be taken as the story of a great love that failed, but it's largely hearsay. We see Paulie and Tori in a few clinches; we see them cuddling together giggling. But from what we see, it's your standard girl friendship that goes lesbian. They're seen entirely from Mary's POV anyway, so by the time we meet them, the affair is almost over. Tori is concerned about what her überstraight parents will think if they discover her Sapphic extracurriculars; she hurries out and snags herself a boy, Jake (Luke Kirby), much to Paulie's dismay. We never quite figure Tori out — is she a LUG (Lesbian Until Graduation)? Bi? Hetero? Gay but way in denial? How does she feel about Jake? How does he feel about her? Paulie only knows one thing: she loves Tori and plans to go after her with the zeal and passion of ... well, a stalker, when you get right down to it.

During the long sit, we get symbolism lobbed into our laps like a large you-go-girlfriend beach ball. Paulie — the wild child, the free spirit — adopts a flightless falcon and, yes, teaches her to fly again. They're both, yes, birds of prey, destined never to be tamed by this awful hypocritical society where you can't express your love or your beautiful female selfhood *ahem gag choke* excuse me, got a wad of righteousness stuck in my throat there.

Aside from the lifeless direction and clunky dialogue, Paulie is annoying pretty much nonstop. It takes a while to realize she's nuts — the movie's to be commended for seeming to put her up as a daring and bold role model and then gradually showing us exactly how many of her screws are loose — but that doesn't make her any easier to take, and the mechanistic plot requires her to go exponentially bonkers unfettered by the intervention of anyone around her (have fun counting the number of times her free-spirited ass should've been suspended). One begins to long for the jackbooted faculty of Dead Poets Society.

Piper Perabo, the sweet new girl in Coyote Ugly, plays a psycho lesbian in this. Which more or less guarantees interest from those who enjoyed her in that Jerry Bruckheimer guilty pleasure. And it's simultaneously a young actress's dream role and a thankless role. It seems perverse to say that Perabo was better in the Bruckheimer dancing-bartenders summer flick than in the sensitive indie coming-of-age film, but she gets stuck with the most platitudinous dialogue, she has to play the most unplayable scenes (as when she desperately tries to win back Tori's heart — at least two mortifying such scenes forced me to avert my eyes), and you're always aware that this is Piper Perabo knocking herself out playing a literary concoction — you never accept Paulie as a person.

The poor girl almost never relaxes, and when Perabo has her big crying scene, the director ladles Ani DiFranco onto the soundtrack and takes the camera in way too close — sometimes you can tell when a performer is forcing him/herself to convey an emotion, and you can tell here. Mischa Barton and Jessica Paré, by contrast, underplay and come off much better. So do Graham Greene, immensely appealing as the campus greenskeeper, and Jackie Burroughs, reining it in for once as the understanding headmistress, who has many opportunities and valid reasons to bust Paulie's ass but good, yet never does.

If you make it to the end, you'll find that the ending sucks. It was funnier when they did it as a fake-out in Birdy, and the shot of everyone standing around staring at the falcon in flight doesn't square with Planet Earth's idea of reality (shouldn't someone, like, be calling an ambulance or something?).

The movie's motto is 'rage more' — Paulie's favorite exhortation. That it sounds like something an overdramatic teenager would come up with doesn't make it any less irritating on the fifth or sixth repetition.

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originally posted: 02/21/07 11:14:19
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User Comments

5/24/06 Billy Do you ever see the movies "Elizabeth" and "Elizabeth I"? 3 stars
5/09/06 K. Sear Typical teenage melodramatic crap. This is why people don't take Canadian film seriously. 1 stars
7/19/05 Jeff Anderson An honest, compelling & truthful film. Piper Perabo gives her best performance to date. 5 stars
2/27/05 hamza hamza 5 stars
10/01/04 kassy great story, great cast, great directing... 5 stars
5/02/04 RONALD ELARDO a very touching story about the hearache of being in love! 5 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt A truthful, heartbreaking tragedy! Piper Perabo shines! One of 2001's very best! 5 stars
4/03/04 Rink super 5 stars
7/08/03 jojo a very sad and touching story 5 stars
2/22/03 nanite the new england christian mothers brigade looks at all-girls schools... 2 stars
11/26/02 saghir no comments 1 stars
11/12/02 joseph liccione I really think that all the actors did a great job. Maybe we should watch more films from C 5 stars
11/07/02 patrick OMG THE CHICKS WERE SOOO HOT! DUDE SWEEEET! - no but seriously...this movie is pretty deep. 5 stars
5/30/02 zotteLORRE true melancholic/emotional story 4 stars
2/09/02 A.K. One of the best of the year. Extremely powerful. Piper Perabo is tremendous 5 stars
10/03/01 Leafsfans A movie that is so thought-provoking 5 stars
10/02/01 Foxfire Movie was beautiful and sad... 5 stars
9/29/01 Irit Very sweet, fun and touch movie 5 stars
9/23/01 River The greatest movie ever! 5 stars
9/10/01 Summer Shafer Sexy, Emotional, and Bizarre in the End 5 stars
9/07/01 shane moore sad and depressing.Not just a lezbian film.but for all who understands the human heart 5 stars
9/02/01 Eryn Awesome movie, very well acted, and directed!:) 5 stars
8/29/01 Charleen Auger C'est un film très troublant 5 stars
8/05/01 Trellis21 Reminded me of real life 5 stars
7/27/01 Kelly Extremely believable characters; extremely well done film! 5 stars
7/26/01 Emma This movie represents really well what some1 can feel a deep tru love...but the actions wer 5 stars
7/24/01 bugeyedkitty i cried! 5 stars
7/21/01 Victor Olteanu Canadian Crap, Bad Even by Hollywood Standards 1 stars
7/15/01 Annie Chang very moving performance by piper perabo 5 stars
7/11/01 Andrea Dramatically poignant and brilliantly performed by the three leads, especially Perabo. 5 stars
6/29/01 Christine A good and simple story. Go see it! 5 stars
6/08/01 Lorene Mendoza A very interesting movie 4 stars
5/09/01 Extera Holmes moving, truly captures the world of the school girls in a private boarding school setting 5 stars
5/02/01 Arthur Unknown Finally!! it touched my heart 5 stars
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Directed by
  Lea Pool

Written by
  Judith Thompson

  Mischa Barton
  Grace King
  Jessica Paré
  Piper Perabo
  Emily VanCamp
  Jackie Burroughs

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