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Date Posted: 20:28:03 09/23/07 Sun
Author: Alex Wood
Subject: Joe

In a review posted on this site in October 2002, Sabine expressed puzzlement about the significance of Joe, the gardener who becomes friends with Mary. I was thinking about that as I watched most of "Lost and Delirious" for the fourth time last night, this time in the form of a series of YouTube videos. Here are my thoughts, for what they're worth:

I think the most important thing about Joe is why Mary becomes friends with him -- because she used to garden with her mother and wants to continue gardening. So, in a way, he's a connection to her deceased mother.

But he's also a terrific character in his own right, mainly because of his sense of humor, which this movie needs. I love his answer when Mary asks, "How much does it matter what other people think?" Instead of trying to answer that unanswerable question, he says, "It depends how much they're paying you. How much are they paying you?" His answer is not only humorous, it also injects a dose of the real world into the intense little social world of this girls' school -- a world where the importance of people's opinions has to do with mundane things like whether they're paying you, and how much.

I think Joe is also an important leavening in this movie because all the main characters are girls or women, and boys and men are frequently viewed with suspicion or hostility. Mary herself says during the discussion of Lady MacBeth, "Guys, men, don't care." Presumably she has her father in mind when she says that. But Joe is proof that that generalization doesn't always hold true. Near the end of the movie, he sees Paulie and Mary running with stolen swords and just shakes his head. You can sense his bafflement and disappointment with the girl he has become friends with.

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