Make Believe Reviews

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Mike McGranaghan
Aisle Seat
September 15, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
July 21, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Rob Hunter
Film School Rejects
July 2, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Jules Brenner
Filmcritic.com
May 30, 2011
They may not possess an equal amount of talent on a magician's stage, but their commitment to their goal is no illusion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Brent Simon
Shockya.com
May 29, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
May 27, 2011
Terrifically likable without trying too terribly hard.
Fr. Chris Carpenter
Movie Dearest
May 27, 2011
More than satisfies with its multi-layered approach to an assortment of teenaged, wannabe magicians. One of the five best documentaries of 2011.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times
May 27, 2011
The various sleights of hand are impressive even if we're afforded little insight into their actual execution. Still, it's fun stuff.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Mark Keizer
Boxoffice Magazine
May 17, 2011
Watching even the most tossed-off gag is worth whatever shortcomings Make Believe has.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Neil Genzlinger
New York Times
May 12, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
May 12, 2011
Documentary following six teenage magicians as they compete for the title of Teen World Champion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
May 12, 2011
Magicians have a saying: "The trick is told when the trick is sold. " These kids are sold on tricks.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Michelle Orange
Village Voice
May 11, 2011
Make Believe pairs a newly entrenched formula with old-fashioned, artisanal illusion.
Leslie Stonebraker
New York Press
May 11, 2011
Make Believe is so irresistible because Tweel combines the kids-making-good plot line with the sheer joy of the magic show.
Cole Smithey
ColeSmithey.com
May 8, 2011
[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.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
John Anderson
Variety
May 5, 2011
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.
Louis Proyect
rec.arts.movies.reviews
April 26, 2011
A terrific movie about teen magicians far more entertaining than any of the Harry Potter fiascoes.
Rob Humanick
Slant Magazine
May 13, 2011
It's easy to appreciate the drive these kids possess, but we never quite feel their burning passion.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
May 12, 2011
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.
Top Critic
Eric Hynes
Time Out
May 10, 2011
Make Believe eagerly (and predictably) fulfills rather than transcends the expectations of the genre.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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