The literal and drug-induced trips in Crystal Fairy may not be to everyone's taste
With an offhand precision that suggests he might prove to be one of his generation's major actors, Michael Cera lays bare two specific human weaknesses in writer-director Sebastián Silva's altered-states/group-dynamics road drama Crystal Fairy — weaknesses you're likely to recognize from life rather than from other movies. The first is the pushy, wheedling neediness of people who crave drugs too much. Not the full-on junkies, but the friends you worry will become junkies, the ones who, when not high, are trying to find ways to suggest that everyone get high, and when high only want to discuss whether they're high enough.
Even at a Santiago house party where everyone else speaks a language he can't be bothered to learn, Jamie (Cera) affects an itchy authority, an expertise on the quality of the local blow and a put-on assumption that he is so cool and commanding that it would be a kindness of him to interrupt the dancing of a blissed-out hippie girl to tell her that she's embarrassing herself. Then, once this outsider playing insider has schooled that other outsider, it's off to do the last dregs of that coke — even if nobody else wants to.
Spouting facts cribbed from the Internet and Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception, Jamie has goaded his Chilean host, Champa (Juan Andrés Silva), and Champa's two brothers (José Miguel Silva and Agustín Silva) into journeying out of town to track down a psychotropic cactus for boiling and ingesting on a magnificent beach. Problem is, at that party, the coke and Jamie's need to be liked came together like vinegar and baking soda, setting off a foam-volcano of kindness. That dancing hippie girl (the stellar Gaby Hoffmann) turned out to be the first American he had seen in Chile — and at some point he invited her to join in on the cactus hunt. Worse, she accepted. And even worse than that, she calls herself Crystal Fairy, chides the boys for scarfing junk food, and rattles on about chakras and healing.
Written and directed by Sebastin Silva. Starring Michael Cera, Gaby Hoffmann, Juan Andrs Silva, Jos Miguel Silva and Agustn Silva.