Make Believe (9/3/12)

Make BelieveMovie Two Hundred Three

Make Believe follows six teens competing for the title of Teen World Champion in magic.

Six teenagers from around the world are preparing to showcase their talents in Las Vegas for a magic competition for the title of Teen World Champion. The teens are: Siphewe Fangase and Nkumbuzo Nkonyana from Africa, Hiroki Hara from Japan, Derek McKee from Colorado, Bill Koch from Chicago, and Krystyn Lambert from Los Angeles. The teens are all very different aside from their strong passion for magic and this documentary follows their preparations for Las Vegas all the way through the competition.

Make Believe is about as quirky a subject for a documentary that I have ever seen and the film certainly has heart. While it would be easy to put these kids up as weirdos or nerds or whatever, Make Believe really gives them a showcase for their passion and talent. However, that’s not to say the film is entirely kind to them throughout the entire runtime, but it is never mean. While I don’t care at all about magic (though I do enjoy watching it, I guess) I was rooting for the teens during the award ceremony.

The biggest problem I have with Make Believe is that I don’t know who the film is for. As a documentary it doesn’t give too much insight into the field of stage magicians but I think the view of magic is also overly simplified for real fans of magic. The concept is compelling and the documentary is fun to watch but on a whole I was fluctuating between feeling bad for these kids and rooting for them.

Regardless of my fluctuating mood during Make Believe, I ended up enjoying it with the hopes that these kids get out a little bit more. There’s something to be said when you can be considered to be one of the best at something, but how many magicians can the normal person list off the top of their head? Maybe I’m just being cynical, but being a magician is not exactly a lauded profession for all but very few and the years of alienation needed to practice magic doesn’t seem like it will pay off. That really isn’t a knock against Make Believe itself, but it’s something I couldn’t shake during my viewing of the film.

I give it 3 Lance Burton with four of the teen competitors out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


14 responses to “Make Believe (9/3/12)

  1. I just watched this a few weeks back, it is kind of a ‘fluff’ doc, but I enjoyed it for what it was. Mostly for rooting for these kids who are obviously really talented. It was also interesting to see an insight into the creative process behind a magic show and watching some of these kids find their paths.

    Two things that I would highlight for the film: So spoilers here if you want to watch it and don’t want to know anything about it.

    I geniunely felt bad for Krystyn during her performance where everything that went wrong did. You could just feel how quiet it got in that theater. Then after the show, you could see her get mad when the older female magician kind of blew her off to talk to the star of the show.

    then you have Hiroki. Man, that kid was awesome. I loved seeing him practice out in nature, it was probably the only poetic magic performance I’ve ever seen. That is where that kid would excell, not the stage.

  2. Seeing how horribly Krystyn’s performance went, I REALLY wanted to see how bad the other kids acts were that didn’t make the finals…But I really felt bad for her too considering how good she is.
    Hiroki was clearly the most intuitive magician of the film and he’s one that I rooted for from the beginning.

  3. Never heard of this. A bit geeky maybe but Im fascinated by magic. So much so I decided to teach myself and Im now a pretty good card magician…but thats neither here nor there! Good write up Andy, definitely made me want to hunt down a copy of this if possible 🙂

  4. Interesting… I don’t really care enough about magic to want to find this docu, and based on your review it really doesn’t sound like it’s worth the effort to dig it up and sacrifice time that could be spent watching something else.

  5. Pingback: Special When Lit (9/3/12) | Andy Watches Movies

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