“We were all violated, misused,” Hook says of himself, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys, implying that sexual harassment led to the current state of things – which leads to the question: who’s the target audience? Sometimes whimsical, at others quaint, flirting with darkness but brimming with childlike naivety, the plot provides a hell of a tonal whiplash, never finding its rhythm. De Paolis seems to genuinely believe in the sentiments she expresses. Her script brims with so many “gems” I’m left with no choice but to list a few of my favorites: “I hate bad dreams. They’re worse than hurricanes.” “As girls go, you are a most pleasing representative.” “My melancholy was as stubborn as Peter’s youth.” “Please don’t hurt the mind I love.” “I’ve brought you all the kisses I’ve collected over the past few days.” “Never sounds like an awfully long time.” And the following exchange: “How dare you!” “Shut up.”
However, there are some good traits in The Lost Girls. Acting-wise, Emily Carey is the standout, charming and natural as the teenage Wendy. Ms. Vanessa Redgrave, bless her, does what she can with an underwritten part. Louis Partridge makes for a splendid, if not a little creepy, Peter Pan but is woefully underused. Iain Glen ably inhabits the rapiest Hook yet.
“…haphazardly explores the perilous spell men sometimes cast over women…”
But it’s De Paolis who deserves the most attention. Starring in the film she also wrote and directed proves to be at least one task too many. Forcing back her Italian accent with all her might, De Paolis barely emotes, enunciating her lines in a flat, awkward monotone. All the scenes involving her (read: the majority) are hence rendered hilarious. This is Tommy Wiseau-level of bad acting and lacking self-awareness. “I’m gonna go hunt for some chocolate,” De Paolis’ Wendy declares before storming off. You go, girl.
The Lost Girls haphazardly explores the perilous spell men sometimes cast over women and attempts to deconstruct a well-known legend. The ambition cannot be faulted. But it’s marred by oh-so-many flaws. Livia De Paolis is the titular lost girl; she’s just unaware of it.
"…Livia De Paolis is the titular lost girl; she's just unaware of it."