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Make Believe Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Village Voice

    The drama is merely serviceable until the last moment, when the winner makes the competition disappear.

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  • 70

    out of 100


    A charming, affectionate and often elegantly executed study of teenage magicians, their craft and the social shadows they step out of when they do their stuff.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times Gary Goldstein

    The various sleights of hand are impressive even if we're afforded little insight into their actual execution. Still, it's fun stuff.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The New York Times Neil Genzlinger

    The buildup to the actual competition is perfectly paced, with the film never tipping its hand as to the winner. And the championship has all the drama of a high-stakes sporting event: failure under pressure, unexpected triumph, gracious losers and winners both.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    These talented, dedicated kids aren't making believe about anything - they're making art out of shimmering illusion, intricate manipulation and blithe misdirection. (In magic, as distinct from filmmaking, misdirection is a good thing.)

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    A charming documentary about the finalists in the Teenage Magician Contest at the annual World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Teens chase magical dreams in inspiring documentary.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this engaging documentary about dedicated, goal-driven teenage magicians should inspire thought and discussion about the amount of work and sacrifice necessary to be successful in any endeavor.

  • Families can talk about the effort these magicians put into learning their craft. What would happen if you put this much effort into your talents? What sacrifices did these magicians make in order to be successful?
  • Why do you think the filmmakers chose teen magicians as their subject? What makes these stories compelling?
  • How do families and communities work together to make the dreams of these magicians real?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: Not an issue

  • message true5

    Messages: While they make it look easy, the teenage magicians in this documentary show how hard work and sacrifice goes far towards meeting and exceeding life goals.

  • rolemodels true5

    Role models: Each teen magician in this film makes time to follow their passions, they work hard to achieve their dreams, and let they don't let anything stand in their way.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Not an issue

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not an issue

  • language false2

    Language: A single use of "s--t" by a secondary character.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue