It is quite clear that a majority of the dialogue in Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus (and 2012) is improvised, but that is not necessarily a fault. Each of the actors embody the characters so unabashedly that they feel sincere in their actions even when the film feels a bit contrived, such as the film’s emotional climactic close. Based on writer/director Sebastián Silva’s own experience with a San Pedro cactus and woman named Crystal Fairy, there is a realism in the narrative which often defies any structure or clear message. These are simply very different people who come together over the hallucinogenic trip to the beach.
Michael Cera heads up the cast as obnoxious American expatriate Jamie (Michael Cera), whose personality often seems to grate on those closest to him. When Jamie runs into a free-spirited American at a party named Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffman), he impulsively invites her on a road trip with him and the three
that put up with him. Crystal Fairy is a completely different personality type
from the snarky and condescending Jamie, and much of the film is a quiet battle
between these two strong personality types in an otherwise passive group of
people. Are these the two personalities that Chile thinks of as American? Either
way, it makes for an engaging road trip film with clashing personality types. Chile
The film leads up to the sequences of drug use, which Jamie is annoyingly impatient to have occur. The sequence of drug use is not as entertaining as you might hope, but instead somewhat like being sober while someone else trips out of their mind. It is funny and mildly amusing, but the novelty wears off much quicker than their high. The most impressive aspect of the film is the fearless performance by Gaby Hoffman, much more the contrived emotional revelation at the end than her constant physical exhibitions.
The Blu-ray release has a behind-the-scenes featurette and a trailer.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Disc Features: 5/10