Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus


Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 26, 2013
    It’s the kind of movie that takes you by surprise. By the time it’s done, the honesty of the performances and the depth of character that’s revealed is exhilarating.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Aug 3, 2013
    Silva doesn’t resort to any fancy tricks to depict his characters’ inner experiences. But something happens nonetheless, a bonding of sorts that is almost, if not quite, convincing.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Stamets
    Jul 19, 2013
    Chilean writer-director Sebastian Silva re-creates a youthful road trip with a head trip at the end in Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus, more character sketch than psychedelic sojourn.
  4. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Apr 9, 2013
    It is a shaggy dog road movie, and a drug-hazy one at that, but beneath the silliness and character-based gags, Crystal Fairy is, I feel, an unusually insightful look at self-imposed false identities and group dynamics.
  5. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Apr 9, 2013
    Crystal Fairy has little to say beyond Cera's capacity to transform into an amazingly uncomfortable screen presence, something we already knew.
  6. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jul 11, 2013
    Whether the San Pedro does its magic is of course the big question. Regardless, Silva works his, delivering not exactly the Holy Grail of road movies, but a very mellow summer high.
  7. Reviewed by: Joel Arnold
    Jul 13, 2013
    On their own, Crystal and Jamie might be two of the worst road-trip companions imaginable; when one gets going, it's easy to identify with the other's frustration. But together — fueled by drugs, forced to share a space, separated from what they take for granted — they reconsider how they value the people who are not ... them.
  8. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jul 25, 2013
    With barely a hint of trippy visuals, it captures the highs and lows of one mind-expanding surfside day.
  9. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    Jul 12, 2013
    The result is a movie that ambles and takes its time, never revealing where it's going.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 11, 2013
    Cera, still one of a kind and still making us love him for it (Arrested Development – yes!), never flinches. Jamie is impossible to like. And yet we do because Cera plays him without an ounce of bogus ingratiation. He's terrific.
  11. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 11, 2013
    It leaves you with provocative questions and memorable images rather than neatly wrapped answers, and with that feeling of imprecise mystery I remember so well from my own youthful experiences: Something beautiful and evanescent just happened, or almost happened. But you can’t describe it, and if you try to seize it, it vanishes into sand and salt and sun.
  12. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Jun 28, 2013
    There's so much baggage involved in the kind of dilettantish games Jamie and Crystal are playing that it's a shame that the film never fully engages with these enticing issues.
  13. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 18, 2013
    A minor revelation.
  14. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jul 10, 2013
    For a moment, Crystal Fairy looks like it’s going to be a real fish-in-a-barrel satire, its rifles aimed at two very easy targets. But once a coked-out Cera invites Hoffmann on his road trip, a voyage he hopes will culminate with the consumption of a psychotropic cactus, the film gains a ramshackle quality that’s difficult to resist.
  15. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jul 11, 2013
    Even with shaggy, semi-improvised projects like Crystal Fairy, there’s a need for some kind of conclusion, and Silva devises one that’s simultaneously terribly contrived and by far the most powerful scene in the movie.
  16. 63
    As Jamie, an American drug tourist desperately seeking a hallucinogenic cactus, Michael Cera pours kerosene on his wet blanket slacker persona.
  17. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jul 11, 2013
    Sebastián Silva is extremely perceptive about body language, and the characters’ physical presences are as revealing as their words. The performances give you an almost uncomfortable sense of proximity.
  18. Reviewed by: Cory Everett
    Apr 9, 2013
    One of the most satisfying things about Crystal Fairy is that even though the lead character prefers to keep an ironic distance from things, the film itself is completely sincere. It’s about being good to people even when they’re kind of ridiculous.
  19. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Jul 5, 2013
    The film is often beautiful and appealingly light. Every clear-eyed insight into why pushy people insist on pushing is matched by loose ensemble humor and lyric reveries.
  20. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jul 26, 2013
    Part drug comedy, part psychological drama, the movie is slight, but only superficially so. As the closing credits role, we’re left not with a sense of a day at the beach, but of what might be swimming out there, in the dark of the abyss.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 6
  2. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. Dec 28, 2013
    The movie is slight to a fault, but it's a kick to see Michael Cera finally cut loose a bit. It is to the film's credit that although almostThe movie is slight to a fault, but it's a kick to see Michael Cera finally cut loose a bit. It is to the film's credit that although almost nothing happens, the actors are never less than engaging. Full Review »
  2. Dec 26, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. "Crystal Fairy" is a road trip taken by two of the ugliest Americans to ever trod a cinematic foreign country. Their goal: Mescaline and spiritual discovery – or closer to the truth, themselves.

    Comedy star Michael Cera, Jamie, showcases trademark Allenesque neuroses, whining and flat affect in a role based on the experiences of Director Sebastián Silva. The reversal is Silva was a native while Cera is an interloper of whom it is asked, "Did you travel to (beautiful) Chile just for the San Pedro (the cactus harvested for Mescaline)?" The answer is a resounding yes, and there is nothing he won't do to get it, including stealing cactus from a lonely, mentally challenged woman.

    Gaby Hoffman, Crystal Fairy, is a pontificating Sixties throwback who wanders about in the nude and chastises people about their food choices (while drinking Coke). She's also an unwanted (by Cera) barnacle clinging to the trip which includes three native brothers. (The scenes of the brothers trying to look like they're not gawking at the nude Hoffman in a hotel room are hilarious.)

    Cera's performance is admirable but his usual one-note. Hoffman easily outshines him.

    The improvised dialogue adds immediacy and verisimilitude while masking the bitter subtext; Neo-Colonialism and Financial Imperialism. Like "Tony Manero" (a film crediting thanks to Silva), United States' influence and interference lightly greases this story's wheels.

    Unlike "Tony Manero," "Crystal Fairy" adds character arcs: Cera departs his obnoxious head to find self-acceptance and a heart recognizing Fairy's inner beauty; Fairy discovers her healing powers cannot reanimate a dead animal and the world just might not end in 2012. She also finds acceptance of the sexual abuse leading her to a life as a strap-on wearing Dominatrix.

    The Chilean brothers are antithetical to the Gringos. Their portrayals are a given as they're natives of the country of the film's origin, but their counterpoint makes Cera and Hoffman all the more ridiculous.

    To say "Crystal Fairy" is a comedy (stoner or otherwise), twisted love story or angry gringo-invective is to sell the film short. This is a sweet, abstract film with multiple layers and a few very fine moments. The film plants itself in the psyche – much like Mescaline. Giving in to the film's charms results in a feeling you actually tripped along.

    Multiple viewings may help in understanding off-the-cuff lines delivered sotto voce. And the abrupt, unsatisfying ending is a shortcoming. There is a movement to cut to black and end films with ambiguity. To feed post-viewing conversation and debate? Whether lazy, uninspired, unmotivated or ill-advised, an ambiguous ending cheats the audience. ("The Birds" notwithstanding.)

    A welcome respite to noisy, tent-pole, superhero entertainment, joining this troupe on the road is definitely worth the ninety minute trip – straight or high.
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 13, 2014
    "Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus" 10 Scale Rating: 1.5 (Terrible) ...

    The Good: Nothing, really. Well, OK ... Michael Cera stepping
    "Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus" 10 Scale Rating: 1.5 (Terrible) ...

    The Good: Nothing, really. Well, OK ... Michael Cera stepping out of his comfort zone was good to see.

    The Bad: Pretty much everything. Typically a group of people wandering through the desert in a drug induced stupor is an entertaining premise ... if it's funny. Too stupid for words and chock full of rambling dialogue that feels like it was made up on the fly, "Crystal Fairy" fails at every level in trying to become a cult classic. "Fear and Loathing" it's not.
    Full Review »