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Crystal Fairy (review)

Crystal Fairy review

Gaby Hoffman and Michael Cera in Crystal Fairy (2013).

Movie review – Crystal Fairy

– by Shawn Conner

In Crystal Fairy, Michael Cera is Jamie, an uptight psychonaut smoking and snorting his way through Chile. Gabby Hoffman is Crystal Fairy, a girl with less attachment to anxiety (and even less to clothes) than Jamie.

The plot is thin; Jamie wants to ingest a hallucinogenic cactus called San Pedro, and has recruited some friends to seek out the plant. The expedition is planned; but the night before they are to embark, Jamie meets Crystal at a party (“You’re embarrassing yourself,” he tells her) and invites her on the journey. The next morning he regrets his decision, but she is gung-ho.

And that’s it.

Crystal Fairy review

Conflict comes out of the relationship between Jamie and Crystal; he doesn’t particularly take to her talk of chakras and her habit of walking around naked and putting rocks in his beer. By the time they find their plant and ingest it, they have some issues to resolve.

Crystal Fairy review

All this is shot almost entirely with handheld camera, and director/writer Sebastian Silva (2009’s The Maid) has the annoying modern filmmaker habit of cutting when there is no reason to cut. This adds to the impression that at no point during shooting there had been a script.

Crystal Fairy is pretty to look at, and the leads are fine in their roles. Cera is especially effective in his portrait of a guy whose anxiety to get high couldn’t possibly be worth whatever payoff he gets. But as an antidote to this summer’s bludgeoning blockbusters, it’s too much on the opposite end of the spectrum – so indie and pointless it will send audiences running to The Wolverine.

By the way, the movie’s alternate (or perhaps actual) title is Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and 2012.

Crystal Fairy opens in Vancouver and Toronto today (July 26).

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