Crystal Fairy - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Crystal Fairy Reviews

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½ December 31, 2016
I have watched this movie twice now. There was a gap of a couple years between viewings. I liked it even better the second time.

A young USAer (Michael Cera) is in Chile hanging with some local friends. He wants to go on a mission up north to find a San Pedro cactus which has psychedelic, mind altering, properties and take it on the beach with his friends. They go to a party and he meets another Yank who calls herself Crystal Fairy (played by Gaby Hoffman). She is a type of hippy abroad, very "spiritual" and sort of sentimental.
So in the momentary impulse of fellow yanks abroad, and a nose full of coke, the Cera character invites her on the cactus trip but forgets about it the next day. Turns out she ends up joining them on the trip and butts heads with the very irritating guy that Cera plays, really well by the way. He is just a jerk. He has a sort of pushy, impatient,USA American go-getter personality in addition to being a psychedelic tourist. While Crystal is all airy fairy and wanting to ritualize everything in the spirit of togetherness.
The brothers they go on this road trip with are Sebastián Silva and his actual brothers. They are at times amused and appalled at the northerners and their behavior.
Sebastián Silva's approach in very interesting in writing and directing plus casting himself in this secondary role.
In a way, with the quirks of the Yanks, I wondered if there was more of an intention to ridicule the USA attitudes. I mean the examples here are either the trust fund baby CEO type, represented by Cara, and the very sweet sentimental end of us, yet damaged, represented in the Hoffmann character. And perhaps, more directly, a comment upon the growing movement of psychedelic tourism to South America.
I think this is a very fine movie of a sort a lot of people wouldn't particularly like. Bad IMDb reviews, etc. it's not a mainstream type movie.

Cera is very good is expressing discomfort at the outset of his trip. Seemed authentic to me.

I'm hoping more people will now see the movie because of the presence of Gaby Hoffmann. She is a wonderful and unusual actor whose star is on the rise because of Transparent and I guess she is also on Girls.
August 5, 2016
Gaby Hoffman and Michael Cera are a perfect fit for these roles, and the movie itself had both it's great parts and drab parts. It's a fun and touching story for anyone who can stick through it.
April 12, 2016
Fascinatingly little flick. Cera's movie.
½ April 10, 2016
Didn't really enjoy the nudity during half the movie
½ March 11, 2016
Clever twist on typical drug road-trip movies, as it shows the planning more than the tripping and also reveals the ultimately fabricated, ingenuine nature that drug culture and the experiences it produces has. Pretty unstructured, but it's improvised, so, obviously. Gaby Hoffmann makes her character so fascinating and sad, her performance makes up for most of the sloppiness in the film-making. Even if not everyone would love this I still recommend it due to its originality.
November 29, 2015
Michael Cera shows his acting chops in this film.
½ November 6, 2015
Fantastic acting by Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffman, however I was bored half the time. I enjoyed the depiction of American backpackers with Cera's character on one side of the spectrum and Hoffman's on the other. Carelessly to be expected.
October 30, 2015
It is what it is, and that's good enough.
October 24, 2015
Michael Cera almost gave me an anxiety attack, skip this, awful.
October 13, 2015
Didn't get far in. Zzzzz turned it off.
October 10, 2015
Defintely not a comedy, to all those pseudo-critics that call this movie a failed comedy. Not for everybody, but a good and interesting movie for a certain audience able to understand some subtleties.
August 22, 2015
Enjoyed this movie a lot.
August 15, 2015
If making the main characters unpleasantly annoying and unlikeable from the beginning was intentional, then kudos to the director. Not having someone to root for makes watching this film very difficult, and in the end viewers seem to have more in common with the confused one dimensional Chilean locals.
July 9, 2015
This is actually a pretty typical indie movie in some ways. There's group bonding during beach bonfires, there's a road trip in pursuit of some wacky goal, and there are lots of quirky idiosyncrasies, mostly belonging to Crystal Fairy, a character that seems to embody the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope in some ways. And yet it feels so different. I had a feeling, based on the quirky opening titles and the odd pictures of Michael Cera cradling a cactus, that I was going to love this movie, and I was right. There's something that feels fresh about the movie in a way that makes you forget about how common some of its elements are. Maybe it's Sebastian Silva's unique new voice.

First off, this is the kind of movie that I love just because every performance feels so natural and great, sort of mumblecore-y. Michael Cera is fantastically unlikable, to the point that I was almost afraid that I'd have to sit through that for the whole movie. Luckily, he gets better, but even if he sustained his terribleness throughout, I think I'd still really like him, because he's terrible in such a unique way. He's extremely enthusiastic and passionate about some things, entertaining the prostitutes at the beginning and 'rescuing' Crystal Fairy from the dance floor, but he's so weirdly insistent and some things, like finding the cactus, and he creates so many awkward situations for himself because he's such a dick, in kind of a Michael Scott-ish way. But Cera has these facial expressions that just kill me, and he's fascinating throughout.

Then there's Gaby Hoffmann, excellent as Crystal Fairy. She overcomes those MPDG traits because 1. she never shares a romantic connection with any of the guys, 2. she doesn't specifically exist to change the protagonist, even if much of Jamie's arc hinges on her, 3. there's a sort of reason to her crazy behavior, a method to her madness (I'll discuss more later), and 4. she has tons of little lines or acts that show that she's her own person. I love how she sort of expresses her annoyance for Jamie in good-natured ways, playfully teasing him about his behavior and laughing as she says "this boy is driving me loco!" She has a personality, even if her general wackiness is pretty broad.

Jamie and Crystal Fairy are the most important characters, but Juan Andres, Agustin, and Jose Miguel Silva deserve a lot of recognition, and they're one of the main reasons I love the movie. They're great straight men to the craziness of the two leads, to begin with, but more importantly, their performances are so naturalistic and great. Each of the characters feel so deeply familiar and real in a way you don't often see in Hollywood movies. There's Lel's vague confusion whenever English goes untranslated ("what the fuck is she saying?" he asks his brother after she tells her fear). There's all of Pilo's expressions, which are all just great, like his laughter when Jamie calls her 'Crystal Hairy' and his look of deep concentration and interest when he talks to the scientists towards the end. And Champa is just a good guy, telling Jamie when he's being an asshole and being kinder to Crystal than Jamie expects him to. When you watch movies like this, you realize that in most big movies, every single character expression and reaction has a specific purpose; everything is so calculated to convey a simplistic emotion or serve as a punchline. Movies like this (or Happy Christmas, or Before Sunrise, etc.) show that in reality, expressions and reactions are much different. Not everything has a specific purpose. I'm not explaining this very well, but maybe the word I'm looking for is 'rhythm.' In most big movies, each scene has kind of a predictable feel to it. That's not a bad thing, it's just the overall pace is one you would expect. Something about movies like this, though defy simple categorization or rhythm, though, and I can't tell exactly what it is; it could be Silva's camera movements, or the way he chooses to frame unexpected subjects, or the lack of constant music in the background, or the length of the scenes, or the characters talking over each other, or, as I said, the Silva brothers' great performances.

Let's get the only real mistake of the movie out of the way: Crystal's third-act confession around the bonfire that she was raped. This is kind of unfortunate, because it's maudlin in a way that the rest of the movie wasn't at all, and because it provides too simple of an explanation for Crystal's personality. As she started her story, I immediately knew what it was going to be, and I kind of dreaded it. The whole thing just seemed a little unnecessary, and I didn't feel completely happy with it like I did with the rest of the movie. That said, because of that naturalistic feel that the movie has, because of the performances and direction, the scene went pretty much as well as it could've gone. Hoffmann's performance was great, and I liked her character so much that I felt emotion during the scene despite my problems with it. Really, what makes the scene, though, are the other characters' reactions. I love Champa's look of stunned concern, and Pilo's deep frowning. And, of course, there's the great finish: Jamie starts crying himself. First of all, that's unexpectedly touching. Second of all, there's a great line when Champa says, "this is her time, man. Stop taking her time" or whatever. It's hilarious, and the perfect line for the moment, teasing Jamie's usual attention-hogging and adding a dose of levity to the dark moment. So overall, though I didn't like the choice to give Crystal a rape storyline, it was pulled off really well, so I can't complain too much.

That's pretty much it, but I wanted to end by saying that I just really liked Jamie's simple arc. I like that he's so insistent on staying true to his plans, and he's probably a little jealous of Crystal, but she shows him that he needs to just chill out and enjoy himself. And he's a dick to her for so much of the movie that when he does act kind to her, it's really touching; I love that moment when he tells her he was worried about her and she says, "you were?" and they hug. I wanted to keep hanging out with these characters for longer.
½ May 25, 2015
Sebastián Silva's quirky movie succeeds despite itself. Much of why this film works is due to odd chemistry between actors Gaby Hoffmann and Michael Cera who both bring their distinctive talents and blend together in an off-putting and hilariously touching way.
½ April 20, 2015
Hard to watch in parts because Michael Ceras character is suck a dickhead, you start to feel sorry for Crystal. Enjoyable. Gaby Hoffmann is great.
½ March 7, 2015
I wanted to punch Michael Cera the entire time....
January 19, 2015
The scenes are even more awkward than the lead actor's facial hair, but they are also beautifully shot and executed wonderfully.
December 17, 2014
Really weird, hypnotic, psychedelic and sometimes uncomfortable comedy that you shouldn't miss if you like freewheeling films. It's really effective because it makes you feel kinda druggy,. The characters and the performances are great, and they are one of the things that make the movie work. I personally love Michael Cera's character, he is kinda of a selfish asshole, that has a crazy obsession with trying "San Pedro", but as the movie moves, you can see a change in him, specifically in the emotional ending.
½ November 22, 2014
An ad hoc movie that works, this movie was made during the downtime waiting to make Magic Magic, and turned out better than the 'proper' film. An interesting look at drugs, self discovery and spirituality.
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