Sundance '13 Review: MAGIC MAGIC - Juno Temple Goes Insane

Magic Magic

Director: Sebastián Silva

Screenwriter: Sebastián Silva

Principal Cast: Michael Cera, Juno Temple, Emily Browning, Catalina Sandino and Agustín Silva

Official Synopsis: If Alicia could just get some sleep, everything would be all right. As she and her cousin Sarah make their way through rural Chile with Sarah’s boyfriend, his sister, and their strange American friend Brink, Alicia’s insomnia slowly takes control. The difference between what is happening in reality and what is happening in her own mind becomes less and less clear to her. After she takes a stab at hypnosis to help solve the problem, things only get worse. As her waking nightmare continues, will her “friends” be her salvation or her downfall?

Story and Direction:

I had no idea how intensely insane this movie was going to be. I heard mixed things about it before seeing it myself, so my expectations were low. That being said, I thought it was a solidly good film. It wasn't really mind blowing, but it was definitely nightmarishly trippy. The synopsis for Sundance explains that it's an "unsettling film that examines sexual repression and the fear of loss," and how the "smallest choices we make can have significant and insurmountable consequences."

The story centers on a young girl who takes a trip to Chile to spend time with her cousin. She ends up going on a little road trip with her cousin and her friends to a cabin. From there the film follows the poor girls decent into madness. She just starts going insane, and as the story progresses, her insanity gets worse and worse.

It was a really fascinating movie, and it managed to grab my attention and hold it. At least I thought it was. It's not for everyone, as a lot of other people at the screening I went to didn't seem to like it. So chances are only about half of you will like it. 


One of the things I liked most about the film were the characters, and the actors that played them. It had a pretty great cast and Michael Cera played a very different role that we've never seen him do before. He played a darker character that was funny and a little mentally slow. It's hard to described his character, but it was very strange to see him in it, yet very refreshing at the same time. As for Juno Temple, this is the best performance of her career. I'm not the biggest fan of Temple because I think she's kind of annoying, but she really showed some acting skills in this. Emily Browning also has a good sized role in the film. She was good, but not as good as some of the other performances. I don't think it's her fault though, the character was just kind of boring. 

Similar To:

The movie had the same kind of tone as the psychological horror thriller Session 9, only it wasn't a horror movie. It was just straight psychological insanity. It also has Black Swan kind of feel to it, only it's not as brilliant. 

Chances You'll See It in Theaters:

Like most of the films that come out of Sundance, I imagine this will get a limited theatrical and VOD release. Even though I liked the movie, it's not one you have to see on the big screen. It's one of those movies to watch when you have some time to kill watching a movie. 

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