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Lost and Delirious (NR)
Lions Gate Films
Official Site
Director: Lea Pool
Producers: Lorraine Richard, Louis-Philipe Rochon, and Greg Dummett
Written by: Judith Thompson
Cast: Piper Perabo, Jessica Parť, Mischa Barton, Jackie Burroughs, Graham Greene

Rating: out of 5

LOST & DELIRIOUS is a coming-of-age story about girls confronting their sexual identities in a Canadian boarding school. If thatís not your cup of tea, then you wonít like the rest of what I have to say either. After I saw the movie, a lesbian friend assured me that all of the passions and drama were completely realistic and spoke to the pain of adolescent homosexuality. Given that glowing review from someone I respect, I have to assume that LOST & DELIRIOUS gets a lot of things right from the gay perspective and hits the hot points in such a way that watching the film is cathartic. If you have gone through this experience, I canít help recommending this film, as its tempestuous emotions and grim outcome more accurately reflect the young lesbian experience than audience pleaser THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF TWO GIRLS IN LOVE, for example. Something about this hits home. See it with your partner.

For the remaining 90 percent of my audience, the rest of this review is for you.

Iíll start with the compliments and then move on. I cannot fault the performances, both over-the-top emotional and under-age sexy, of Piper Perabo and Jessica Parť as the lovers, Paulie and Tory, nor can I find fault with Mischa Bartonís portrayal of the emotionally constricted Mouse. All three actresses give every indication that they performed as directed and as written. I groaned when Graham Greene appeared as the affable groundskeeper, but instead of the dreaded wisdom-from-the-only-person-of-color-in-the-film, he told bad jokes and provided a realistically nice but clueless adult to balance the overwrought girls in residence.

That said, my principal reactions to the film as I watched it were frustration and boredom. Frustration with the heavy-handedness of the Shakespeare-laden dialogue and blow-to-the-head symbolism and boredom with the plot as I waited and waited and waited for Paulie to self-destruct. From the very beginning, the only question was how the entire horrific experience would affect Mouse. Did it affect Mouse? Her angst-ridden voiceover assures us it did indeed, but any on-screen transformation must have been completely eclipsed by the emotional tsunami put forth by Paulie. In short, I just wanted the characters to stop lying and humiliating themselves and the film to end. The use of a powerful Ani Difranco song to tug my heartstrings when nothing else was didnít help either. Not a positive experience.

On reflection, though, I wonder if my emotional reaction might not be the standard heterosexual reaction to the true horror of the adolescent homosexual experience. Is LOST & DELIRIOUS another important piece of ďdiscomfort cinemaĒ as exemplified in Todd Solondzís WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE? That movie was torture, but since I related to the characters, I could sense the power and brilliance of the filmmakers in getting junior-high-hell so right on. Is that what Lea Pool was up to? Did she realize that a lot of people would hate her film and why? I have no idea. I may just be reading too much into LOST & DELIRIOUS because I really want it to be more than just another predictable adolescent sexual identity movie run amok.

Rent it. Rent it with someone who doesnít share your background and point of view so you can talk about it afterwards and see what you think. Find the value here, if any. Mainstream America is not ready for LOST & DELIRIOUS. Iíll let you decide if we should bother trying to be.

óóReed Oliver

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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