Crystal Fairy and Magic

December 7, 2013

The cover for the movie and the title suggest a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas type of surrealism. But in actuality this film is incredibly intimate, with the most consistently tight camera work you will see capturing a very strong rendition of the reality of presumably college students or just young kids seeking to expand their horizons by camping at the beach with hopes of intoxicating on mescaline derived from a magic cactus.


At the center of this voyage is Pollo, played by Michael Cera, who is indeed as self-absorbed as one would expect. He has an obsession with taking the mescaline under just the right conditions. It is some fantasy of his that he picked up after reading a book called The Doors of Perception. He in other words is not interested in gaining a new perspective about the universe. It is more likely the case he is interested in gaining a new perspective about himself.


Incidentally he pairs himself with a free-spirited girl who his roommates don’t mind spending time with. The girl, Crystal Fairy, is a strong component of the film. The boys acceptance of her wildness comes slowly, but eventually. Pollo, however, develops some form of resentment of her spoiling his fantasy, which is more of an indication of his immaturity to allow other exuberant individuals into his close circle of friends. In other words, she was stealing his spotlight.


Ideally for Pollo this experience will create a metamorphosis in him. Perhaps that is why he is so attentive to making everything go according to plan. As viewers, we are not privileged to see if there was any metamorphosis accomplished. Indeed, the group dynamics hardly change at all after they consume the cactus beverage. We don’t see strange behavior in other words. We just see kids by the beach. Crystal Fairy of course has her own bizarre affairs to tend to, whether they are related to increasing her karma or uniting her consciousness with the one is irrelevant to discuss. Her presence pushes the group into being emotionally open about their personal fears for instance. Indeed it is through this group and her coerciveness toward having everyone reveal their anxieties that the most personal growth is captured on the screen. And that was the intention of taking the drug. Ironically, mescaline was unnecessary.


Does the film tell us anything else? Was there something to be said in the first place? It appeared too lightly without the expected gravity of whimsy to reveal to us how random events including random people can create life-altering currents. Thus every moment we live is a precious one.


Grade: B+



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