Crystal Fairy


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Gaby Hoffman and Michael Cera in Crystal Fairy
"A diverting, if not entirely satisfying, curiosity that is worth a look if only for Hoffman's fully committed and gripping performance."

Sebastián Silva's offbeat road trip, which was shot on the hoof as he and his cast members waited for the cash to come through for Magic Magic, is perhaps surprisingly, the stronger of the two films. While both involve road trips and drug taking, the focus in Crystal Fairy is more upbeat and farcical, although it shares its strongest element with its darker stablemate - cracking performances from the cast.

Michael Cera's American Jamie is the sort of youth who seems to have neither grown into his body or his brain. Callow and crass, he takes the phrase self-centred to unplumbed depths, somehow managing through sheer obssessiveness to gee-up his Chilean pals (played by Silva's brothers Juan Andres, Jose Miguel and Agustin) for a road trip to a far-flung beach where he intends to get hold of a San Pedro cactus and cook up some Mescaline. The very idea of his mind being altered is absurd - and yet, with this sort of set-up, it's inevitable he'll learn something.

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Going along for the ride is Gaby Hoffmann's Crystal Fairy - a fellow Yank that Jamie invites on the spur of the moment. She could have arrived in a flower-powered time machine from the Sixties, such is her hippy vibe and she quickly proves herself to be much more intereting than Jamie. Shocking in her spontaneity, it is her sparky rapport with Cera's charater on which the film hinges.

As with so many improvised scripts, Silva's film works in parts and rests on the two experienced actors, with his brothers' characters more or less just along for the ride. Cera knows how to sell a comic line but it is Gaby Hoffmann who really delivers the film's emotional goods as the action starts to pick at notions of friendship and the importance of feeling comfortable in your own skin. However, the film meanders and, though there are plenty of laughs in the first half, the plot doesn't have quite enough juice to last the trip, relying on an emotional pay-off that sits uneasily with what has gone before. A diverting, if not entirely satisfying, curiosity that is worth a look if only for Hoffman's fully committed and gripping performance.

Reviewed on: 10 Jan 2014
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A callow American goes on a road trip to take mescaline.
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Director: Sebastián Silva

Writer: Sebastián Silva

Starring: Michael Cera, Gabby Hoffmann, Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva, Agustín Silva

Year: 2013

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Chile


Sundance 2013

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Magic Magic