Mary is a new student at the all girls' boarding school, and dorms with Paulie and Victoria. 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 in the mornings. When they hear that Mary's mother has died, Paulie nicknames her "Mary Brave."
Mary observes the intimacy between her two dormmates. 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.
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 come across some boys from the nearby boys school. One 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? I'd rather stay home."
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.
One morning, Victoria's sister and friends rush into the room to wake up the older girls. Paulie is lying in Tori's bed, and it is clear that the two are 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. When confronted by her sister, she 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 homophobic, 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. The break up is not clean however. Paulie degenerates into psychotic abusive behavior, like destroying a mirror and thrashing a dish cart to the floor. A rejection letter from the agency that handled Paulies adoption, which says 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 a guy from a nearby all boys' school and hardly speaking to Paulie.
Victoria has sex with her boyfriend, which prompts Paulie to declare a duel with him. After defeating him in a fencing match, she demands that he give up her queen. When he brushes her off, she stabs her sword into his leg. Mary rushes to stop her. Paulie then runs off. Mary runs to Victoria's soccer match, which is being watched by the principal and the main teacher. Just after reaching the group, Mary sees Paulie, sobbing from the top of a building. Crying out for her beloved, she jumps to her death.Piper Perabo as Pauline "Paulie" Oster
Jessica Paré as Victoria "Tori" Moller
Mischa Barton as Mary "Mouse" Bedford
Jackie Burroughs as Fay Vaughn
Mimi Kuzyk as Eleanor Bannet
Graham Greene as Joe Menzies
Emily VanCamp as Allison Moller
Caroline Dhavernas as Kara
Luke Kirby as Jake Hollander
Alan Fawcett as Bruce Moller
Peter Oldring as Phil
Grace Lynn Kung as Lauren
Stephen Mwinga as John
Lydia Zadel as Monica
The film garnered a mixed reaction from critics. Based on 58 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes it is certified "rotten", with an approval rating of 50%. The consensus reads, "Lost and Delirious becomes exactly that, as the film sinks into overwrought melodrama and cliched, obvious symbolism."
The performances of Perabo, Paré and Barton were, however, widely praised. Perabo's performance in particular received critical acclaim, which Loren King of the Chicago Tribune remarked was her "breakout performance". Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman called her "an actress of glittering ferocity" and her performance "a geyser of emotion". Jim Lane of the Sacramento News & Review said that "Perabo is a revelation, wild and fiery—it’s a breakthrough performance, astonishing in its fervency" and Roger Ebert praised her performance for its sincerity and "wonderful abandon and conviction". Ebert went on to give the film three-and-a-half out of four stars, writing that the film "stirred within me memories of that season in adolescence when the heart leaps up in passionate idealism—and inevitably mingles it with sexual desire." Ebert praised Pool as she "creates a lush, thoughtfully framed, and composed film; her classical visual style lends gravitas to this romantic story."
The movie was filmed in Lennoxville, Quebec on the Bishop's University Campus and across the St Francois River at Bishop's College School. Students attending summer classes there during filming were used as extras.Original score by Yves Chamberland
Written and Performed by Meshell Ndegeocello
"Add It Up"
Performed by Violent Femmes
Written by Gordon Gano
"You Had Time"
Written and Performed by Ani DiFranco
Righteous Babe Records
Performed by Cowboy Junkies
Written by Michael Timmins
Cowboy Junkies Inc.
"Sanctus" from Missa Luba
Performed by Muungano National Choir