and being gay? In any case, as was the case
with these other great films, to look at Lost and Delirious
as a "lesbian" film is to limit its possibilities. It
is has universal themes; love, the ecstasy of first passion and
the pain of first loss. There are few among us who can't relate
to that, regardless of our sexuality.
was 2001's or , with a new bunch of kids in a new
situation but with the same angst; how do you survive being a
Mary (Mischa Barton, now best known for The O.C)
is a new girl at boarding school. She's resentful of her emotionally
detached father and stepmother for sending her away and is still
distraught over losing her mother some years before. Unsure of
herself and painfully shy, she finds herself rooming with two
very unconventional and outgoing girls: Paulie (Piper Perabo)
and Tori (Jessica Paré). They are best friends and, as
Mary soon finds out to her confusion, lovers as well.
Everything is perfect until the day the secret lovers are discovered.
Tori, unable to deal with the fallout of coming out and acknowledging
her feelings for Paulie, ends the sexual side of their relationship
abruptly. Filled with confusion and sorrow, Paulie begins to try
everything in her power to win Tori back, with disastrous consequences.
Mary watches helplessly as Paulie descends into sorrow and is
consumed by the intensity of her own passions.
Many reviews have said this but I'm afraid I'm going to have
to echo it.
contain much that could be considered startling or new. There
are so many films I could list as influences here, but overall
it did feel a bit like a
for girls, where the so-called war is being fought over the hearts
and souls of young girls who are drowning in their own attempts
to grow and change.
What distinguishes this film from other boarding-school dramas
can be expressed in two words - Piper Perabo. I was less than
impressed by her eye-candy turn in
but there is only so much you can do when the material you have
to work with is flawed. After the shallowness of that film, Paulie
must have been an irresistable character to play; she's intense,
passionate, gorgeous without being aware of it and gloriously
articulate. The challenging dialogue could have sounded contrived
and trite in the mouth of a less skilled actress, but surprisingly
even the most clunky of passages rang true.
Perabo and Barton both have exciting screen presence, so much
so that their performances gave the film a slightly lopsided feel
as they overwhelmed all the rest of the characters and to some
extent, even the plot. Particularly dwarfed was the insipid Tori,
but that was partly the intention. She was the shrew, the bad
guy, so she had to be unsympathetic. Unfortunately she was also
Paulie is a modern day swashbuckler and poet, romantic and idealistic.
As we all know, in the world of film it is these characters who
are always destined for tragedy. They are simply unequipped to
deal with the destruction of their ideals and romanticised world.
Director Léa Pool attempts to tell the
story of the "star cross'd lovers" through the eyes
of naive observer Mary, who goes through some interesting changes
of her own as she witnesses Paulie's transformation.
The remainder of the supporting cast was good but not outstanding.
The two teachers at the school that we really see, the headmistress
Faye Vaughn (Jackie Burroughs) and their long-suffering Maths
teacher Eleanor Bannet (Mimi Kuzyk) may or may not be lovers.
I liked that ambivalence, after all, it was not their story. Faye
plays the strong teacher role, takes an interest in Paulie and
refuses to give up, no matter how far her wild student pushes
the boundaries of their friendship.
Faye provides yet another pair of eyes for us to see Paulie through;
the older and world-weary woman envying (and encouraging) the
passion and spirit of her young charge, while pitying her the
pain and suffering she knows she cannot save her from. Mary has
her own mentor, the strong and steady gardener Joe (Graham Greene),
who helps keep her literally grounded as the events of her life
swirl around her.
As Ani Difranco sings in an angst-ridden moment, Paulie's fight
is like a bull in a china shop; destructive and unrelenting. Her
entreaties to Tori are the epitome of bittersweet, funny but so
The Canadians are so good at these heartbreaking and beautiful
stories. Pool doesn't shy away from showing intimacy where necessary,
but not more than is necessary. She gets the simple things right.
I believed in Paulie's love for Tori. The film would have flopped
if that hadn't worked, as so many others have in the past.
Perhaps the symbolic nature of the script could have been handled
with a touch more subtlety. Mary is the supporting and nurturing
type who spends time in the garden digging and planting. Her purpose
in the film is obviously to grow and flower. Paulie is the wild
spirit who takes a wounded Raptor and teaches it to fly and hunt
again, to spread its wings and fly to freedom, just like she wishes
she could. Tori gets stuck in the middle of these two forces,
unable to gather the courage to be herself, she's such a weakling
that by the end one wonders if she was really worth fighting for
in the first place.
Paulie's fight for Tori is also a fight for sexual and individual
freedom, a battle against her own demons. Some people were angry
or dismayed at the tragic ending, but I was too busy crying to
notice. There was something so utterly sad-yet-satisfying about
the Raptor as she tries desperately to fly to freedom, and fails
as we know she must.
Got a comment? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org