The young actress Piper Perabo has moody overripe features — big sad saucer eyes, the lips of a Roman statue — that look nearly stylized in contrast to how pert and compact and rambunctious she is. In trash like Coyote Ugly, she had little to do but fill up space, but the audacious girls’-prep-school drama Lost and Delirious reveals her to be an actress of glittering ferocity, the kind who can startle a scene to life. Perabo’s Paulie is a brilliant and reckless bad girl who says whatever she wants and has a flair for getting away with it. She is carrying on an enraptured liaison with her roommate (Jessica Paré), who tries to end the affair, only to learn that Paulie, absent of boundaries and consumed by love and rage, won’t be shaken away.
It’s not every film that dares to place the life-or-death passion of a Romeo and Juliet within the context of a modern Canadian boarding school. Directed by Léa Pool, Lost and Delirious has its indulgences (it makes too much metaphorical use of a woodland raptor), but it evokes the intimacies of teenage girls with unusual delicacy, and Perabo’s performance is a geyser of emotion.