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Lost and Delirious

The promotional poster for the film.
Directed by Léa Pool
Produced by Greg Dummett
Lorraine Richard
Louis-Philippe Rochon
Written by Susan Swan (novel)
Judith Thompson (screenplay)
Starring Piper Perabo
Jessica Paré
Mischa Barton
Music by Yves Chamberland
Cinematography Pierre Gill
Editing by Gaétan Huot
Distributed by Seville Pictures (Canada)
Lions Gate Entertainment (USA)
Release date(s) July 20, 2001
Running time 103 minutes
Country  Canada
Language English
Budget unknown

Lost and Delirious is a 2001 Canadian drama film directed by Léa Pool and loosely based on the novel The Wives of Bath by Susan Swan. Lost and Delirious is filmed from the perspective of Mary (Mischa Barton), who observes the changing love between her two teenage friends, Pauline (Piper Perabo) and Victoria (Jessica Paré). The film premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.[1]


Plot summary

Mary is a new student at the all girls' boarding school, and dorms with Paulie and Victoria (nicknamed Tori). In an effort to get the shy Mary to break out of her shell, Paulie and Tori involve her in their activities, such as running with them in the morning. When they hear that Mary's mother has died, Paulie nicknames her "Mary Brave."

Mary observes the intimacy between her two roommates. Peering out a window at night, she sees them kissing on a roof. Paulie and Tori's relationship is close and Paulie is full of life. At one point she turns a quiet afternoon on the campus into a music-blasting dance party and spikes the punch. In another moment, she defends Victoria from a frustrated math teacher who humiliates her when she does not understand basic math.

Over time, Paulie and Tori become more comfortable showing affection in front of Mary. It progresses from a quick kiss on the lips in front of her to the two sharing a bed while Mary is sleeping.

When the three are running one day, Paulie comes across a hurt falcon, which she befriends. After reading up on falcons, she trains the animal. While she is tending to the falcon, Mary and Tori meet some boys from the nearby boys school. One, Jake, flirts with Tori, asking if she will be attending her brother's 18th birthday party and making it clear that he likes her. When Mary and Tori are alone, Tori expresses disgust at the boy's interest in her, saying, "He liked my tits." When Mary asks if she'll go to the party, Tori says, "And have all those gross guys groping me? No, thanks. I'd rather stay home and do math."

One morning, Victoria's sister, Allison (Emily VanCamp), and her friends rush into the room to wake up the older girls. Paulie is lying in Tori's bed, both clearly topless. Horrified silence falls over everyone.

Mary pushes Tori's sister out of the room and closes the door. Tori angrily tells Paulie to get out of her bed. Paulie tries to downplay the situation, and Tori tells her she doesn't understand, explaining that her sister will tell her parents about it. When confronted by Allison, Tori tries to extinguish her sister's suspicions by telling her Paulie has an unrequited crush on her and crawled into her bed. Her sister promises to "fix" the rumors about Tori and not tell their parents anything. As she walks away from this conversation, Victoria collapses into tears.

In the library, Victoria explains to Mary that her family, her parents and her sister, are strongly opposed to homosexuality, and she must stop the relationship to prevent their rejection. Mary sympathizes with both of her friends, as she too feels rejected by her father, who does not bother to show up to a father/daughter dance. In the forest at night, Tori and Jake have sex against a tree. Both Mary and Paulie accidentally witness this scene and run back to their room before Tori returns.

Paulie degenerates into psychotic behavior over Tori's withdrawal from the relationship. She smashes a mirror and hurls a dish cart to the ground and begins to act out in other ways. A rejection letter from the agency that handled Paulie's adoption, which informs her that her birth mother denied a request from Paulie to get in touch, further sends her over the edge. Meanwhile, Victoria creates an image of heterosexuality to her friends and her sister, dating Jake Hollander (Luke Kirby) from a nearby all boys' school and avoiding Paulie.

Paulie declares a duel to the death with Jake. Jake ends up on the ground, with Paulie brandishing a sword above him. She demands him to give up Tori. When he refuses, she stabs the sword into his leg. Mary rushes to stop her, and Paulie runs off. Mary runs to Victoria's soccer match, where the headmistress, math teacher, and fellow students are congregated. Upon reaching the group, Mary sees Paulie, sobbing from the top of a building. Whispering "I rush into the secret house," a reference to Shakespeare on suicide, Paulie jumps to her death.

Differences from the novel

  • Tory and Paulie have a lesbian relationship; in the novel, Paulie posed as a boy.
  • Mouse never pretends to be a boy in the film.
  • The theme of masculinity is underplayed in the film, whereas, in the novel, Paulie wanting to be masculine and Mouse's need for a man's freedom are more prominent.
  • A major theme of the novel is "Paulie's crime", murder, which is entirely absent from the film.
  • In the book, Mary is described many times as having a spinal malformation which affects her ability to walk normally, and gives her a hunchbacked appearance.


Production details

The movie was filmed in Lennoxville, Quebec on the Bishop's University Campus and across the Massawippi River at Bishop's College School. Students attending summer classes there during filming were used as extras.


  • Original score by Yves Chamberland
  • "Beautiful"
Written and Performed by Meshell Ndegeocello
Maverick Records
  • "Add It Up"
Performed by Violent Femmes
Written by Gordon Gano
Beyond Music
  • "You Had Time"
Written and Performed by Ani DiFranco
Righteous Babe Records
  • "River Waltz"
Performed by Cowboy Junkies
Written by Michael Timmins
Cowboy Junkies Inc.
Performed by Muungano National Choir
Universal Music

Awards and honours

Year Award Category Result[2]
2001 Mar del Plata Film Festival "ADF Cinematography Award" Won
Stockholm Film Festival "Audience Award" Won
Valladolid International Film Festival "Golden Spike" Nominated
2002 Verona Love Screens Film Festival "Best Film" Nominated
Directors Guild of Canada "DCT Team Award - Outstanding Achievement in a Feature Film" Nominated
Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards "Best Cinematography in Theatrical Feature" - Pierre Gill Won
Genie Awards "Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role" - Mim Kuzyk Nominated
"Best Screenplay" - Judith Thompson Nominated
"Best Achievement in Cinematography" - Pierre Gill Won


External links

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