In Lost and Delirious, Mouse is a freshman assigned to live with two seniors when she arrives at her private boarding school. Her new roommates Tory (Jessica Pare) and Paulie (Piper Perabo) are free-spirits who smoke, spike punch and dance around in their underwear. But Paulie is the real angst-ridden wild child. Her signature phrase “rage more” is not just a pair of words. It is a way of life.
Mouse eventually discovers that Paulie and Tory are lovers, which doesn’t phase her one bit. She simply pretends to be sleeping during their steamy nightly trysts, which are of course scored by Ani Difranco tunes.
However, Tory’s bratty little sister and friends aren’t as liberal when they find Paulie and Tory bare-breasted and cuddling in the same bed. Hell-bent on proving that she’s no lesbian, Tory denounces her beloved and finds herself a boyfriend. The beloved, though, has no intentions of getting over Tory. Instead, Paulie runs around quoting Shakespeare’s doomed women (Lady Macbeth and Cleopatra figure prominently).
The moment Paulie utters her first sonnet, the fate of the star-crossed lovers is crystal clear. Still, Perabo plays the passionate, if slightly deranged, Paulie beautifully. She’s got real pathos in her voice and eyes with each new lovepang she is issued. And Pare’s Tory is so convincingly scornful that Perabo has plenty of reasons to “rage more.”
Unfortunately, she rages more than this film can handle. The screenplay, as penned by Judith Thompson, is too flimsy for this kind of passionate acting. And Canadian director Lea Pool nearly bludgeons the audience to death with symbolism.
As if the Shakespeare wasn’t obvious enough, she also includes a raptor with a broken wing with which Paulie bonds as she is nursing it to health.
Lost and Delirious tries really hard to be an indie girl power movie. Unfortunately, all it succeeds in doing is proving that when lesbian coming of age meets Hollywood predictability, the end result is disappointing cinema and titillating soft porn.