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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lost and Delirious

The first thing I don't like about Lost and Delirious, from 2001, is the title. It suggests a comedy, either of the school type (like Dazed and Confused) or a romantic one, like Crazy Stupid Love. Instead it is a deadly serious drama about romantic obsession, and was based on a book called The Wives of Bath, which of course is a literary reference and some suit probably decided that the audience was too illiterate to get it.

The other think I don't like is that it takes itself far too seriously. Set in a boarding school in Canada, our entry into the picture is a mousy (her nickname is even Mouse) girl played by Mischa Barton. She arrives and is roomed with Jessica Pare, a popular, athletic girl, and Piper Perabo, who is the school's rebel (she smokes and spikes the punch, wouldn't you know). Turns out Pare and Perabo are having a sexual affair.

When Pare's sister (a very young Emily VanCamp) catches the two naked in bed, it becomes a crisis as Pare will not allow her parents to find out. So she breaks with Perabo, who, in understated terms, does not take it well. I'd call this a lesbian drama, but both lovers deny they are lesbians. That's kind of an interesting approach--people just love each other, despite their gender.

There is a subplot involving Perabo taking care of wounded hawk, which is an over-obvious metaphor for herself. The hawk will figure in the climax.

Directed by Lea Pool, the film is a lovely depiction of prep school life (the headmistress, played winningly by Jackie Burroughs, is actually a good person) and makes use of passages of Shakespeare. I have new understanding of sections of Antony and Cleopatra and Macbeth. And I must say that Pare and Perabo are both outstanding. I haven't seen much of Perabo after her debut in Coyote Ugly so many years ago, she's a kind of "whatever happened to?"

But the script is just too heavy-handed for me to recommend. Those interested in queer cinema might find it an interesting topic of discussion.

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