Lost and Delirious

Director: Lea Pool
Screenwriters: Judith Thompson

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


A hauntingly evoked tale of three adolescent girls' first loves, discovery of sexual passion, and search for identity, Lost and Delirious is the first work filmed in English by acclaimed Quebeçois director Léa Pool (Emporte-moi). From a brilliant adaptation of Susan Swan's novel, The Wives of Bath, by Toronto screenwriter Judith Thompson, the film features a knockout cast with Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly) as Paula, Jessica Paré (Stardom) as Tori, and Misha Barton (The Sixth Sense) as Mary, who goes by "Mouse." All in their teens or early twenties, the actors give powerful, improvisatory, emotionally sensitive performances.

Set in a posh, private boarding school surrounded by luxuriant, green forest, Lost and Delirious moves swiftly from academic routine, homesickness, and girlish silliness to the darker regions of lovers' intrigue: Paula and Tori are discovered; Mouse becomes their confessor and accomplice and the unstoppable emotions of adolescence collide with the immovable conventions of society as she is torn between loyalty to her two friends.

In Lost and Delirious, the theatricality of overwrought teenage emotion finds its counterpart in the artful use of Shakespearean drama, from poetic declaration of love, loss, and defiance, to symbols of falconry and fencing. Pool deploys incredible range and depth in this film: strongly written and powerfully delivered dialogue (and monologue); striking control of mood and atmosphere to reflect growing emotional tension; and finely polished cinematography. This Gothic tale of love's blooming, its innocent ecstasy, and ultimate obsessions is a tour de force.

— Nicole Guillemet

Screening Details

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