Make Believe (2011)
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 outsiders who all share an extraordinary passion: the art of magic. We meet Krystyn Lambert, a member of the Magic Castle, a classic beauty who hails from Malibu and seems to have it all but she just doesn't fit in; Bill Koch, a 19 year old from Chicago who has no time for second best and has one last shot to win the title before he ages out; Hiroki Hara, who lives in a remote Japanese village where he practices magic 8 hours a day and dreams of performing around the world; Derek McKee, the youngest, a very serious 14 year old from Colorado who has found the one skill he has that makes people take notice is magic; and Siphiwe Fangase and Nkumbozo Nkonyana from Capetown, South Africa whose energy and excitement for the art is contagious to all. Along the way, "Make Believe" incorporates interviews with Neil Patrick Harris, Lance Burton and several magicians who share these teens passion. --(c) Laemmle … More
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Critic Reviews for Make Believe
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.
The various sleights of hand are impressive even if we're afforded little insight into their actual execution. Still, it's fun stuff.
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.
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.
Magicians have a saying: "The trick is told when the trick is sold. " These kids are sold on tricks.
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.
They may not possess an equal amount of talent on a magician's stage, but their commitment to their goal is no illusion.
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.
More than satisfies with its multi-layered approach to an assortment of teenaged, wannabe magicians. One of the five best documentaries of 2011.
Watching even the most tossed-off gag is worth whatever shortcomings Make Believe has.
It's easy to appreciate the drive these kids possess, but we never quite feel their burning passion.
Documentary following six teenage magicians as they compete for the title of Teen World Champion.
Make Believe is so irresistible because Tweel combines the kids-making-good plot line with the sheer joy of the magic show.
[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.
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