Crystal Fairy Screen 15 articles

Crystal Fairy

2013

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  • Apropos of its lethargic drug trip, Crystal Fairy is ultimately a neutral film in tone, structure and impact. The final attempt to wrench some sense of consequence out of this well-observed but quickly dissipating diversion of a film doesn’t give it a new dimension so much as it offers a bad come down.

  • This approach is interesting to an extent, but ultimately the story buckles under the pressure of its own ambiguity. Is there anything more to Jamie besides a crippling pattern of neediness and egotism? Will he ever change? Is Crystal simply a free spirit at peace with her own past trauma? We’ll never know.

  • The longer the movie lazily winds its way towards its destination, the more its unpredictability and shambling, go-with-the-flow pace start paying off handsomely. Shot in 12 days and largely improvised, this fuzzy-headed farce works its magic on viewers in sly increments and uses Cera’s inherent irritability to great effect; a beautifully framed two-shot of the actor’s face and a hairy vagina is a lesson in comic economy.

  • One never knows which side [Crystal is] going to show, or how deeply she’ll dig into whichever conflicting side of her persona. And she gives this shambling, loose drug trip film — ably handled by Silva, whose tactile, handheld filmmaking never devolves into a silly tripping style — a neurotic, character-driven shot in the arm.

  • Prior to Crystal’s introduction into the main plot, Cera’s Jamie is presented as annoying but, for better or worse, our protagonist, should we choose to accept him. But playing off of Hoffman’s gentleness, Jamie is pure unchecked and rampaging privilege, recalling his cameo in This Is the End. What’s apparently Cera’s new go-to type is a natural progression from his earlier brand of charm and ineffectual hypersensitivity, now gone horribly wrong.

  • Working from autobiographical material, Sebastián Silva does wonders with these two dedicated performances—the ice king and the earth goddess, both of them neurotically detached from their sunny surroundings.

  • Crystal’s odd allure isn’t lost on viewers, either, thanks to a spectacular performance by Hoffmann. Though this hirsute practitioner of healing rituals and magical passes is revealed in the film’s final act to indulge in far less benign pursuits, the actress imbues the easily caricatured role with complexities from the start, hinting at Crystal’s own inability to take herself seriously.

  • This is a road-trip comedy and a drug-trip comedy, but one that refuses easy clichés and whose ultimate intentions are a lot more sober and mysterious than that sounds. In its own peculiar mode, “Crystal Fairy” (which already won Silva the world-cinema directing prize at Sundance) is one of the year’s most distinctive discoveries.

  • The film never misses the opportunity to play their opposing temperaments for laughs, but it also pulls off the neat trick of casually underlining their narcissism without losing sympathy for either of them.

  • Crystal Fairy’s own magic trick is that it plays out with a lighthearted ease and charm as beguiling as the main characters are aggravating. As with his breakthrough dark comedy, The Maid (wherein the lead listed in exactly the opposite direction of Crystal Fairy’s—so far withdrawn into herself is she that her personality needs to be coaxed out by another), Silva reveals himself to be a humanist, devoting attention to protagonists another director might dismissively skip over.

  • Crystal Fairy is tough at times to watch — the characters aren't typically likable and Silva's muddy, handheld aesthetic isn’t exactly pleasant. But the film captures a particular kind of social dynamic so well that it's hard not to be mesmerized by it, too... By the end, not unlike its characters, Crystal Fairy doesn’t quite know what to do with itself.

  • The narrative may feel inconsequential, but from moment to moment it pulses with a real sense of uncertainty. That's a good approximation of what being in your early 20s feels like, when the exhilaration of being newly independent clashes with the fear that you have no idea what you're doing. In valuing mood over storytelling, Silva articulates this feeling with startling accuracy.

  • ...Gaby Hoffmann unexpectedly steals the film from the very talented Cera, absolutely nailing the character of a frowsy, drug-addled nightmare hippie girl, going on and on about honesty and the importance of being open to everything, sincere, etc... It's even more insulting when the film ends with a Powerful Monologue telling us why she's this way, effectively saying someone could only come out this way because they were Damaged

  • Hoffmann is excellent, facing off Jamie's hostility with a palpable sense of inner peace and managing to a make a character who could so easily have been a parody of a new-age nutjob come across like a genuine individual... For a small film that was never meant to be made, Crystal Fairy is quite the achievement, and while it masquerades as a comedy, it runs along sociological tramlines that also relay some ugly truths.

  • ...[Cera's] relationship with Gaby Hoffmann (as the Fairy) is fascinating because they're both monsters, diametrically opposite yet aiming, recognisably, for the same destination (truly different people are usually able to make room for each other; people who are the same in different ways tend to get on each other's nerves). Silva isn't a profound filmmaker imo but he has an open spirit, taking whatever comes his way...

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