January 16, 2014 6:00 pm

Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus – film review

Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Silva directs a road movie in search of hallucinogens
Michael Cera in 'Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus'

Michael Cera in 'Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus'

Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus is in equal parts charming and annoying. Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Silva (The Maid) brings in Michael Cera (Juno) for a road journey in search of hallucinogens. Three native youths and one California import drive across the other LA – Latin America – clasping a stolen stem of San Pedro cactus and collecting, on a non-consensus vote (Cera hates her), the flaky New Age hitchhiker of the title, played by Gaby Hoffmann. Everyone will experience self-learning as they sort their conflicting issues and ideals.

Hoffman looks as if she has stepped out of Manet’s “Gypsy with a Cigarette”, giving that painting a whole new acoustic. Elsewhere the film’s effect, probably like that of the San Pedro cactus, is pleasant, dreamy, hippy-evanescent and very años sesenta. Like The Wolf of Wall Street, Crystal Fairy seems to have missed its sell-by date, in this instance by 50 years.

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Nigel Andrews


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