The Fairy (Kino Lorber, NR)


film the-fairy_75The Fairy ends up feeling like psychological testing disguised as art film.



film the-fairy_500

What can I say about a comedy that features a lonely hotel worker, a fairy, a baby, a dog, a love story, and illegal immigration? I could say that you’ll be able to follow it even though it doesn’t exactly make sense. I could say that you’ll need to check your view of reality at the theater door. I could also say you shouldn’t think too hard about what you see. What you really need to know about The Fairy, though, is that if you can’t make those last two things happen, you should not be going to see this movie.

Dom (Dominique Abel) is the night clerk at a little hotel in the seaport town of Le Havre. His ordinary life is about to be turned upside down by Fiona (Fiona Gordon), a shoeless customer who tells Dom she’s a fairy who can grant him three wishes. The two soon embark on a madcap and mostly wordless adventure filled with sight gags, chases, and loony bin patients.

I realize that movies like The Fairy are meant to bathe viewers in magic and whimsy, to take them away from humdrum reality and give them a way to dream again. And while that’s a worthy goal, I wasn’t sold. Not halfway through the film, or even by the end.

I think I have the wrong kind of personality for a movie this filled to the brim with eccentricities and no solid grounding in real life. I found myself wanting desperately for something tangible and honest to happen. For the baby riding on the back of a moving car not to fall off right when the parents are waiting underneath with open arms. For the man flying across the city simply by flapping his arms to have a seriously rough landing. For the underwater mating dance of Dom and Fiona to leave them gasping for air.

Since none of that happens, The Fairy ends up feeling like psychological testing disguised as art film. Are you a beautiful dreamer who longs to find a lost puppy mired in sewer runoff by the sea? Or, are you a woeful cynic who knows that any dog tossed into such a place would get eaten by gators before it had a chance to be found? Do you believe in wishes that magically come true? Or do you comfort yourself with tales of hopes dashed just like your own?

Having said all that, it’s hard to deny the effort put forth by stars Abel and Gordon, who wrote and directed the film along with costar Bruno Romy. They really want us to believe. To believe in fate and chances that come out of nowhere. To believe in love and the possibility that it can change your life for your own wacky good.

I’m not totally on board with The Fairy, but I can’t say that it’s completely undone by its own cuteness. Sure, this film is a romantic and idealistic view of love affairs and the world that holds them. But I can see past my own pessimism enough to know that that’s not always a poor view to take. If being enchanted is your thing, you’ll probably enjoy The Fairy just fine. | Adrienne Jones

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