Lost and Delirious (2001) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
Tuna's comments in white:
Lost and Delirious (2001) is finally
being released in the US next week, and we now have DVD captures of
the lesbian scene between Piper Perabo and Jessica Paré, as well as
additional topless nudity from both. I really don't know how to review
this film. Ebert adored it at 3 1/2 stars, and about half of the
critics also liked it. The other half of the critics agree with me
that it is over-wrought and full of clichés with a lot of artsy and
needless symbolism. I also found it over-long. All three principles
gave good performances, and the production value was there, other than
the score which I found distracting and irritating. The problem for me
was the story.
Scoopy's comments in yellow:
WARNING: COMPLETE SPOILERS
Tuna really nailed the salient point in his last sentence. It scores astronomically among (a) girls who are the same age as the high school protagonists of the movie (2) old guys who want to see girls that age naked, and belly upon belly.
The arithmetic IMDb rating of this movie is a mystery to me. The average score of all votes is 7.9, and the median is 8. 77% of all voters have voted seven or more, but the "weighted average" is 6.5. IMDb says it has a special system which determines the rating by tossing out suspicious ballots. Get this, "to prevent abuse of the system, we do not disclose what the additional factors and calculations are." In other words, one additional factor might be a dartboard, and that may count for 99.99% of the score. They use the Dean Wormer method, and put all films on double top-secret probation!
This was possibly the most misunderstood film of the year, because 90% of the reviews missed the central point. It isn't about normal adolescent angst, or about lesbianism. It's about madness. The central character challenges her ex-lover's new lover to a duel, and eventually kills herself by leaping off a building with her hawk. She plummets to the ground, while the hawk soars free, no longer a prisoner of the broken body that the girl nursed back to health. Let's be honest here. Normal people don't stab people with swords or commit grandiloquent suicidal gestures. They do not do that whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. They do not do that even if they lost the love of their life.
This story is about her descent into uncontrolled hysteria. The Perabo character has "never been loved", finds a love, and when she loses it, she also loses her tenuous grip on reality. I think that if the first person who had ever truly loved her had been male, and a genuinely good person, that the male would have become her obsessive love. As it turns out, it is a beautiful girl with whom she shares a dormitory room. But the lesbianism is not really central to the story. There's nothing uniquely lesbian about her feelings. She could as easily be a boy or a girl who lost a heterosexual lover.
|We all go
through something similar in adolescence. We do not all resolve it
with swordplay or jumping off buildings with our pet hawks.
Except maybe in Scandinavia.
unbalanced girl is not in a normal environment where she would have
the balance of other friends, or commonplace cultural continuity. She
is in a girl's boarding school, and an outcast, and she has to live
and sleep in the same room with the lover who has rejected her! Every day
in class, she is
subjected to the environment of the Victorian writers or Shakespeare,
who dramatize love and action in ways and speeches larger than life.
In her mind, she becomes the central figure in the Shakespearian
Tragedy of her own life, and loses her grip on the normal things that
anchor our lives. In this boarding school, they don't have daily
newspapers or TV sitcoms or news programs or little brothers, or all
those little things that keep us in touch with the everyday,
Her world becomes a Shakespearian one. It was strange to see Piper Perabo impersonating a hysterical Shakespearian character, but she did do a pretty good Richard Harris impersonation.
The kind of cloistered atmosphere pictured here has to have an impact on anybody thrust into it in adolescence, but it has a profound impact upon this girl whose grip on reality has already been shaky. I guess you could argue that the grand tragic scale and the hysterical soliloquies shouted to the heavens, in imitation of Heathcliffe and Catherine, or Antony and Cleopatra, were justified in light of her environment and her obvious madness. I didn't much enjoy her descent into self-pitying Shakespearian madness. This kind of story isn't the way I want to pass my time. But I have to concede that it has an internal poetic consistency to it.
Of course, it's OK storytelling when a mad person acts mad. After all, Caligula once challenged Neptune to a duel, and spent quite a bit of time smacking his sword into the waves. Where the film loses its own grasp of reality is in the behavior of the people around her. They are supposed to be sane. The people around Caligula had to indulge his madness in order to keep their heads. The people around Perabo wouldn't have been indulging her, I don't think. They wouldn't have been encouraging her madness, but forcing her to get some treatment.
|I am a bit surprised
that nobody noticed her losing her grip, or tried to get her into
therapy or onto some mood-altering drugs. Human beings are resilient,
and overcome far greater losses than anything she endured. Human
beings have far more difficult environments than the one in which she
grew up, yet they grow to adulthood, and even find happiness.
The film loses credibility in the behavior of the people around her who fail to notice the problem, and fail to take action. Nonetheless, it does have some raw emotional power aimed at a defined target audience, and it does have two great looking young women topless.
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