Emily Browning in Magic, Magic
(dir. Sebastián Silva)
I have to admit that I went into Magic Magic a little blind. I’ve definitely heard of the director, but have yet to see his other films (The Maid, Old Cats), and his other film at Sundance, Crystal Fairy, was a Day One film so I thought to myself, “hey, why not”.
What I didn’t realize was how scary it was going to be. I really should have known better, as it was in the Midnight category. And if Sundance has taught me anything, it’s that if it’s in the Midnight category, even a movie about something as mundane as skiing will probably be terrifying.
Magic Magic is one of those slow burn, psychological thrillers. In other words, the sort of scary movies that scare me the most. Because they aren’t actually scary. And then I spend the entire movie cowering in my seat waiting for the scary bit, but it doesn’t actually come, and instead I just nearly give myself heart failure instead. (Side note: if you ever want a good laugh, sit me down and watch a slow-burn scary movie with me. I’ll be crying within ten minutes and you’ll be laughing your ass off. Right, James?)
Since I was so irrationally afraid of this film, that means it was doing something right. The plot itself was a little vague, but the characters were amazing and compelling, and the cinematography was eerie and desolate. Michael Cera as an obnoxious Greek-who-speaks-Spanish is maybe one of the most inspired things I’ve ever seen. And Juno Temple does “losing her mind” really, really well.
I never did get to see the climax of the film. There was, uh, a work emergency and I had to leave the theatre to take a phone call. There actually was a work thing, I’ll have you know, but whether or not it was a true emergency I’ll never tell. But in unfortunately (so unfortunate) missing the scariest bit of the film, I also missed a huge chunk of the ending.
So what happened? I’m not entirely sure. And I like it that way. Maybe it will come out soon so you can see the ending and tell me all about it.
Emily Browning at the Magic, Magic premiere.
Twitter reactions to Magic, Magic
Emily Browning, Juno Temple, and Catalina Sandino-Moreno | Variety Studio at Sundance Film Festival