“Discovering in Michael Cera an impish ally he can use to drive other characters crazy, Chilean director Sebastián Silva (The Maid) made two bilingual features with the star back-to-back, bringing both to the Sundance Film Festival,” wrote Variety‘s Peter Debruge back in January. “Although Crystal Fairy earned an opening-night berth, once the dust settles, the sublimely unclassifiable midnight offering Magic Magic is destined to be remembered as ‘the good one.’ Meticulously acted, gorgeously shot and hilariously insightful about the strange, inarticulable ways people can get on one another’s nerves, this psychological thriller takes its premise to surprising, darkly comic extremes, though its non-genre approach keeps things niche.”
At Ioncinema, Nicholas Bell found that Magic Magic, screening at Directors’ Fortnight, harkens “back to a genre of women and madness features that populated plenty of classic titles from the late 60s and 70s… Recalling classic Polanski titles, like Repulsion (1965) and The Tenant (1975) or Altman’s Images (1972), Silva presents us with a scenario seemingly layered with symbolism and supernatural—even sadistic—undercurrents, though the possibility always remains that perhaps our minds are simply seeing what we want to be seeing.”
“Juno Temple has a schizophrenic episode amid some of the most self-centered and incapable people on earth,” wrote Sam Adams at the AV Club. As an “anxious Californian,” she “has been dispatched to Chile to spend some time with cousin Emily Browning, presumably as part of some ill-thought scheme to give her mind a rest. Along with Browning’s Chilean boyfriend and short-tempered Catalina Sandino Moreno, who finds Temple an instant drag, the cousins set off for a trip to a remote island where the hairline cracks in Temple’s sanity widen to yawning chasms. As the group’s abrasive fifth wheel, Michael Cera plays an even creepier, more obnoxious character than the one in Crystal Fairy: He might as well cut to the chase and take a role as a combination child molester-slash-serial killer.”
“This psychological horror,” wrote Tim Grierson at Screen, “aspires to do little more than unnerve you as strenuously as possible, and in this regard it succeeds. To be sure, the movie isn’t much more than its atmosphere of clammy discomfort and a gonzo performance from Juno Temple, but those open to the experience will enjoy its gleeful strangeness.”
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