Sebastian Silva's Crystal Fairy opens in theaters tomorrow. Both of its stars, Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffman, have been profiled in the New York Times this past week and it has received critical acclaim since its premiere at Sundance in January. It certainly does not need my endorsement, but it's going to get it anyway.
I had no idea what to expect from this film. In a way, all of its descriptors are terribly misleading. I was told it was a Chilean movie, which is true, but it ended up being a very interesting depiction of what it means to be an American. I was told it was about drugs, but to say that is a gross simplification. Their search for the mescaline, the journey to the perfect spot to take it and its after-effects are so much more entrancing than its, albeit hilarious, drug scenes. I was told the movie was about Michael Cera, but as the title so correctly informs us, its soul really lies with Gaby Hoffman -- aka Crystal Fairy.
Please do not misinterpret my last sentence, Michael Cera is painfully good in this. He and Silva create such a believably flawed main character that it's difficult to imagine that Cera is not like this in real life. He expertly reminds us of that person we all know who chases relaxation and coolness with such intensity that he renders even the most simple day of getting high on the beach, stressful and irritating. In reality, Michael is not like that at all. He is very much in sync with both the irresistible Gaby Hoffman and his fellow road-trippers (Sebastian Silva's real brothers who are very talented actors themselves). And yes, they took real mescaline on the shoot, but apparently Michael's batch didn't really hit him.
I'd be going on and on about Michael if it weren't for Gaby Hoffman. People often talk about her hair and her eyebrows. It's true, they're entrancing. I would go so far as to say that she acts with every part of her body in every moment of Crystal Fairy (including her hair), to perfection. But look, whoever is reading this, just go see it. It's worth it for Gaby's performance alone. You'll want to follow her career to the ends of the earth.
Clearly Sebastian Silva did something very right to engender these types of performances. In addition to that, the film is genuinely funny and so intimate it's hard to imagine that there was even a camera operator there. Go see it starting tomorrow at IFC.