Crystal Fairy Reviews
Jaime's character is irritating, annoying, and just plain selfish. Because of his hastiness to get where they're going and to do mescaline, he misses the trip within the trip.
My big problem with Crystal Fairy is that of a lot movies that try to deal with the hallucinogenic drug awakening. It just doesn't seem like it can be done on film in way that actually gives justice to substances like mescaline and LSD, and how they trigger critical thinking and change your consciousness. This seems to just be a limit that film can't pass. Overall though, Crystal Fairy is a decent film, if you have the patience necessary for the road trip and for Jamie's character in general. He's the type of person that needs a great deal of understanding and patience from the audience.
Sometimes I amaze myself at the movies I will sit through because it gets nominated for awards. This movie was up for some Spirit awards(actress, and a few others), it stars Michael Cera, so I figured Why Not? It's about a group traveling through Chile to get a drug out of a cactus to get high, then they have a bunch of drama amongst themselves on a beach. It has a few funny moments, but overall it's boring, incoherent, and just not very good or entertaining. I like Michael Cera, but this is one of his movies that is just dumb(kind of like how "Paper Heart" was dumb). The hippie girl he picks up played by Gaby Hoffman is good, but nowhere near deserving of any award nomination on any planet. This is weird, and a big time wasting movie(another gem I watched off of Netflix). Of course, I should be surprised that a movie called "Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus" is bad. Don't bother at all with this, unless you're on the drugs they are searching for.
"Crystal Fairy" is an engaging and insightful road movie about perception and how you don't need drugs to change how you see the world; just open your eyes, relax and enjoy the scenery. That first comes into play when Jamie cooks for Botota(Esteban Carreno) and Hanna(Juan Carlos Lara II) after the party. Later, Jamie, who at first is the viewer's eyes into this world, eventually becomes uptight and then controlling. All of which makes one wonder whether or not one can be addicted to a drug without having ever taken it.(Discuss.) By contrast, while at first Crystal might seem annoying and easy to make fun of, she gradually becomes much more sympathetic as the characters and audience get to know her better.
The story of Jamie traveling in Chile, and attending the local party is so under the influence of cocaine that he couldn't even remember that he invited an eccentric woman to join his group's quest to score a fabled hallucinogen, a move that finds him at odds with his new companion, until they drink the magic brew on a beach at the edge of the desert. The words come together.
I didn't get too excited even with the naked appearance and the unshaved part, most of the time it was just smooth sailing with a very low blow... I understand the director's approach and that Michael Cera was in Chile a week in Santiago in pre-production living together at Sebastián's parents' house-where he had filmed The Maid in 2009. The boys would sit out back playing guitar and singing songs. Gaby Hoffmann, (as Crystal Fairy, a radical spirit) recalls hearing the music steaming through the open doors while Sebastián and Hoffmann would sit at a desk where she created all Crystal Fairy's drawings in the sketchbook she has in the movie.
The titular character is based on a real person who was an influence on the director. The script was an outline with every scene including a moment that leads the actors to the next place. They didn't do any rehearsals in character, but since the boys had already been living together when Hoffmann arrived, her character's role as the outsider was easier to slip into. While shooting the scene of Crystal Fairy tripping, Hoffmann was too. "...I just knew it would be okay. My dose was weak, so I had to take a second one even though it was so revolting, but I really loved it. I was totally present in the experience of the making of the movie, and I felt like it was subtle enough that I could step in and out of it," Hoffmann said. "I never felt like, 'Oh my God, I'm tripping and I have to make a movie.' I felt like I could totally step out of it and be like, 'Okay, Sebastián, what's going on? What do we need to do?' And then I could step back into it and just go with it. And, you know, there's like hours and hours of footage that you don't see because it was like a 10-hour trip and we were in that desert the whole time. It was great, but it was subtle."
You heard the explanation, watch the movie, and that is exactly what are you going to see: someone tripping for a long time, and we are watching and paying!
And yet the real success of writer-director Sebastian Silva's Chilean road trip to acid trip "comedy" is, well, first of all, you can't stick it to a single label. It's all over the place. That could be a complaint. One late third-act reveal especially is more of a shrug than anything else. Okay. "Crystal Fairy" nonetheless really surprised me. Because for a drug movie it never takes the form of fairy logic and drops the ball by externalizing a high as akin to something anyone across the board can understand. "Crystal Fairy" isn't bug-fuck nuts, and not a whole lot happens, but if I absolutely had to strip it down to its basics I'd sell it as an art house frolic through a land of beaches and narcotics that has more in common with Henry Miller and Jim Jarmusch than Jodorowsky or a Road Runner cartoon. It's got its sentiment and pretensions in all the right places. (77/100)
The Good: Gaby Hoffman - I hadn't seen this actress in a while, though I'd always enjoyed her in her childhood roles. Crystal Fairy exposes her talent, as she is the driving force behind the film. She does great as being both the manic pixie hippie girl, but also gets incredibly vulnerable towards the film's conclusion. She made a real character out of something that could have just been a characterization.
Michael Cera - Another actor who transformed himself for this role. Being known usually as a quiet introverted type, Cera became an "in your face", sophomoric intellectual who is just looking for his next high. He's willing to manipulate anyone to get what he wants, but his character arc seems completely realistic, thanks to some great character moments by Cera.
Sebastian Silva - The director of Crystal Fairy has a strong sense of what he wants to accomplish. Crystal Fairy could have simply been a rehash of other desert, drug movies, but thanks to Silva it's about much more than that. By limiting the drug-induced hallucination scenes to the end of the film, Silva allows us to connect with the characters on an emotional level.
The Bad: Drug Sequences - Honestly, they're just kind of boring. Sure there's some exposition in them, but that could have happened anywhere else. I'm glad that he didn't go over the top with them, but they were just dull.
The Smugly: Third Act - Besides the actual final two scenes in the film, the whole third act just fell flat for me. It wasn't so bad that I would mark it against the film, but it's where everything was weakest. It felt like we were just retreading old ground, until the film's actual conclusion.
The movie is also some kind of wonderful, the bizarre project of Chilean writer-director Sebastian Silva, he of the powerful drama The Maid (seriously see it!). Silva is likely working out some issues of his own. The plot is basically three locals joining Jamie on his journey, all played by the filmmaker's brothers, Juan Andres Silva, Jose Miguel Silva and Agustin Silva. Just before the make way for the desert Jamie meets American hippy girl Crystal Fairy at a party in Santiago, and as played by Gabby Hoffman, best known for her childhood role in Sleepless In Seattle, she's outstanding, full of combustible energy and wit. She and Cera are a superb odd couple.
And they get to you, just like the film. Silva doesn't push things, his film's dramatic and comic points come organically, like in the scene where the sought-after cactus is cooked and Crystal goes nuts wearing only her shoes. Just let this film wash over you, the surprises will throw you for a loop. Silva's is a film devoid of Hollywood trickery. It'll have you high and great storytelling again.