Crystal Fairy & the magical cactus: Film review - rambling, mildly engaging road movie

2.00

(18) Sebastian Silva, 92 mins Starring: Michael Cera, Gaby Hoffmann, Agustín Silva, Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva

Crystal Fairy is a rambling, mildly engaging road movie that follows an obnoxious young American in Chile. Jamie (Michael Cera) has read too much Aldous Huxley and is determined to open the "doors of perception" with the help of a hallucinogen he hopes to extract from a cactus found in a remote part of the country. He sets off with a group of young Chileans (two of them played by director Sebastian Silvá's brothers, Agustin and José Miguel).

En route, the pilgrims pick up a wild and eccentric American woman who calls herself Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann) and who behaves like a New Age priestess. She eats only vegetables (although we spot her furtively swigging from a bottle of coke when her fellow travellers aren't watching) and is a keen naturist. (Jamie quickly nicknames her "hairy fairy".)

There are some funny moments along the way, not least when Jamie finally takes the hallucinogen. The film-makers' freewheeling approach (the heavy use of handheld camera, the seemingly improvised dialogue) sometimes grates, but the lyricism and humour here just about atone for the navel-gazing self-indulgence.

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