Make Believe
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A coming of age journey set in the quirky subculture of magic, "Make Believe" follows six of the world's best young magicians as they pursue the title of Teen World Champion and take us on their personal journeys of transformation through magic. The film travels from back rooms of the world famous Magic Castle in the Hollywood Hills to the most important international magic competition, the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas, as the teens face the mounting pressure to win the competition and move to the next stages of their careers. Director J. Clay Tweel follows six adolescent… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"I would have liked to see more tricks and fewer parental interviews, but in any case, this is a reasonably appealing documentary for anyone with a special interest in the subject."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"The young people seen here never seem artificial; you feel their passion for doing magic, as well as their nagging loneliness, devoted as they are to practicing card tricks and such for hours on end, while their peers are off doing what most teenagers do."
‑ Neil Genzlinger, New York Times
"Make Believe has it all: likable "characters" we want to follow, a subject that both astounds and amazes, and a mounting sense of suspense as the competition reaches its conclusion."
‑ Mike McGranaghan, Aisle Seat
"More than satisfies with its multi-layered approach to an assortment of teenaged, wannabe magicians. One of the five best documentaries of 2011."
‑ Fr. Chris Carpenter, Movie Dearest
"Documentary following six teenage magicians as they compete for the title of Teen World Champion."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"Terrifically likable without trying too terribly hard."
‑ Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"This tension between self-expression and professional advancement is fascinating material, but first-time director-editor J. Clay Tweel avoids the nuance that might have brought it to life."
‑ Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
"They may not possess an equal amount of talent on a magician's stage, but their commitment to their goal is no illusion."
‑ Jules Brenner,
"Watching even the most tossed-off gag is worth whatever shortcomings Make Believe has."
‑ Mark Keizer, Boxoffice Magazine
"Make Believe is so irresistible because Tweel combines the kids-making-good plot line with the sheer joy of the magic show."
‑ Leslie Stonebraker, New York Press
"The various sleights of hand are impressive even if we're afforded little insight into their actual execution. Still, it's fun stuff."
‑ Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"Magicians have a saying: "The trick is told when the trick is sold. " These kids are sold on tricks."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"There's an innately human joy in bearing witness to someone doing something they deeply love, no matter the money, and also do it well -- especially if they're a youngster. And that joy is on ample display in Make Believe."
‑ Brent Simon,
"It's easy to appreciate the drive these kids possess, but we never quite feel their burning passion."
‑ Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine
"[VIDEO] "Make Believe" is a touching movie about discipline and the promise of illusion to elevate the mundane into the sublime. You'll be amazed."
‑ Cole Smithey,
More reviews for Make Believe on Rotten Tomatoes