Lost and Delirious

It's so refreshing to see actors break out of mediocrity and into a meaty role that shows that yes, they have talent. For Piper Perabo, Lost and Delirious is this movie. It is a serious change of pace from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Coyote Ugly, the two films that brought her to the attention of audiences and critics. Perabo gives an impassioned, near theatrical performance that rises and falls with intense drama. Too bad Lost and Delirious was not a better film. It is the first English film for Canadian filmmaker Lea Pool (Set Me Free, Desire in Motion), based on The Wives of Bath by Susan Swan.

All events are from the perspective of Mary "Mouse" Bedford (Mischa Barton, The Sixth Sense, Notting Hill). Mouse is apprehensive about entering a boarding school. Her roommates Tory (Jessica Pare, Stardom, Possible Worlds) and Paulie (Perabo) seem friendly enough, especially with each other. Mouse soon learns they are lovers, and for whatever reason, they begin to feel comfortable expressing the sexuality with Mouse in the room. Things change abruptly when some schoolmates walk in on Tory and Paulie. Tory comes from a strict religious background, and asserts her heterosexuality in order to shatter any rumors floating around. Paulie's reaction is the opposite. Her behavior becomes increasingly erratic as she tries to reignite Tory's affections. She does not comprehend that Tory will not return them.

Supposedly, the book focuses equally on all three characters. Judith Thompson's (Life With Billy, City Girl) adaptation gives most of the spotlight to Paulie. She is the most flamboyant girl, always dramatically expressing her opinion freely and loudly. She will quote Shakespeare standing on a table in the library or come to the defense of a student in class. Mouse and Tory lose out. All three women are dealing with issues in their life (among other things, everybody seems to have no mother), but Lost and Delirious the movie touches sporadically on Mouse and Tory. Mouse in particular is a fascinating character. She is angry with her father for sending her to school, and misses her dead mother. The school is a drastic change of pace for her, and the movie serves as a reawakening of her spirit. However, all the changes her character undergoes happens quickly and near the end, pushed aside by Paulie. And the Tory character just seems to react to incidents instead of thinking for herself.

The one upshot is more screentime for Perabo. It's her best and deepest performance to date. She is riveting on the screen, filling her performance with emotion. As Lost and Delirious nears its end, events become increasingly preposterous. Paulie's actions begin to defy reality, even taking into consideration that she is a teenage girl in love. Pool boils everything to a fever pitch conclusion that is almost laughable. She throws in falconry, fencing, blood pacts, and other elements that end up diminishing the emotional impact of the story.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 40 minutes, Not Rated but contains language, sexuality, nudity, and mature themes, an easy R.

Back to Movies