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Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus (2013)

Crystal Fairy y el cactus mágico (original title)
Not Rated | | Adventure, Comedy, Drama | 24 April 2014 (Chile)
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As Jamie travels in Chile, he invites 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.

Director:

Sebastián Silva
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Cera ... Jamie
Gaby Hoffmann ... Crystal Fairy
Juan Andrés Silva Juan Andrés Silva ... Champa
Agustín Silva ... Pilo
José Miguel Silva José Miguel Silva ... Lel
Sebastián Silva ... Lobo
Manuela Baldovino Manuela Baldovino ... The Girl Who is Hi on Life
Gepe Gepe ... Gepe (as Daniel Riveros)
Gracia Ariztia Gracia Ariztia ... The Other Crazy Dancing Girl
Esteban Carreño Esteban Carreño ... Botota
Juan Carlos Lara II Juan Carlos Lara II ... Hanna (as Juan Lara)
Gary Boyd Gary Boyd ... Highway Restaurant Man
Marinés Muñoz Marinés Muñoz ... Copiapo Hostel Owner
Nancy Castillo Nancy Castillo ... Grocery Store Saleslady
Margarita Maria Nicolich Margarita Maria Nicolich ... Gypsy (as Margarita Maria Nicolich Nicolich)
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Storyline

Jamie (Cera) is a boorish, insensitive American twentysomething traveling in Chile, who somehow manages to create chaos at every turn. He and his friends are planning on taking a road trip north to experience a legendary shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro cactus. In a fit of drunkenness at a wild party, Jamie invites an eccentric woman -- a radical spirit named Crystal Fairy (Hoffmann) -- to come along. What is meant to be a devil-may-care journey becomes a battle of wills as Jamie finds himself locking horns with his new traveling companion. But on a remote, pristine beach at the edge of the desert, the magic brew is finally imbibed, and the true adventure begins. Written by Production

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

IFC [United States]

Country:

Chile

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

24 April 2014 (Chile) See more »

Also Known As:

Crystal Fairy See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,052, 14 July 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$190,704, 6 September 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Diroriro, Fabula See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gaby Hoffmann says she had no problem with her gratuitous nudity in the film thanks to growing up in a "naked house." See more »

Connections

Featured in The 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Dear Believer
Composer: Ebert
Artist: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Publishing: Warner Chappell
Master: Vagrant Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
More open and honest than anything I've seen in films recently
3 August 2013 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

Hiding behind masks that cover their vulnerability, two Americans in Chile, Jamie (Michael Cera) and Crystal Fairy, a young free-spirited woman (Gaby Hoffmann), spar off against each other in Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Silva's psychedelic comedy Crystal Fairy. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and won the Directing Award for World Cinema at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Jamie's act is one of controlling, overly-aggressive behavior but not quite the "Ugly American," while Crystal's is the opposite but equally phony, a caricature of a "hippie" filled with love for everyone who spouts clichés about chakras and mother earth, walks around her hotel room naked, engages in healing rituals, and chides the others for eating junk food.

It's hard to tell if the director is using her persona as a means of ridiculing these ideas or just showing how inauthentic she is. In any event, Crystal and Jamie's way of being, while it fills a need for them, has costs in sacrificing who they really are. On the surface, the film is a road trip to find a psychedelic substance in the San Pedro cactus plant which, when boiled for twelve hours and ingested, has the properties of mescaline (it has been said that the actors used mescaline while shooting the film). In essence, however, the film is not really about mescaline but about releasing rigid patterns of behavior and discovering new ways of interacting that are more fulfilling.

The film begins at a party where Silva's hand-held camera-work and improvised conversation is established. On a cocaine high, the caustic Jamie invites a partygoer, a girl who calls herself Crystal Fairy to accompany him and his friends on a quest to repeat the spiritual high described in Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception. When Crystal takes him up on the offer the next day (which he has forgotten that he even made), he is dismayed by her annoying behavior, even though his Chilean friends, Champa (Juan Andres Silva) and his two brothers Lel (Jose Miguel Silva) and Pilo (Augustin Silva), seem more tolerant, perhaps because at least one does not understand English. Their trip to the ocean to locate and purchase a piece of the San Pedro cactus from reluctant residents is one of the comic highlights of the film, even though Jamie has to eventually use surreptitious means to acquire it.

Crystal Fairy ends up in a good place even though it is more than a little irritating in getting there. During the trip, Jamie and Crystal talk to each other, but at cross purposes. The results are unpredictable but, suffice it to say, their longing for a spiritual experience does not take the form that Huxley described. Michael Cera's role is out of character from the lovable, nerdy self he has played in earlier movies, but he is terrific in this film, totally natural and very real, as is Hoffmann in her role, both continuing to reveal a new dimension to their character. Ultimately, the group's sharing about their fears and their discovery of how their act no longer serves their purpose in life is more open and honest than anything I've seen in films recently and stays in the memory.


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