Magicians: Life in the Impossible

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Magicians: Life in the Impossible Movie Poster Image
Uninspired docu has some profanity, sexual references.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 88 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Shows the importance of persistence in order to achieve one's life goals. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

For all their faults, and the ups and downs shown in their careers and in their personal lives, these professional magicians show boundless drive and determination as they pursue their careers. 


A man and woman who work as a magic team and were once romantically involved openly talk and joke of their sex lives. 


A drunk woman watching a magician perform at a bachelorette party screams "f--k!" Magician makes joke in which his magic wand replaces the middle finger gesture. 


Talk of some of the different casinos in Las Vegas where famous magicians perform. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A magician performs at a bachelorette party; the women are drunk, including one woman who passes out from drinking too much. Wine drinking at a bar. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Magicians: Life in the Impossible is a 2016 documentary that follows a group of professional magicians at different stages in their career. A magician performs for a large group of women for a bachelorette party; the women are obviously drunk, including one woman who passes out during the show, and another woman who screams "f--k!" in response to one of the magician's sleight-of-hand tricks. A male/female magician team who were once romantically involved openly joke and discuss their sex lives. Another magician puts his magic wand on his knuckle to simulate the "middle finger" gesture. Overall, this is a chronicle of the ups and downs in the careers and personal lives of working magicians, and a glimpse into the challenges they face both on and off the stage. It's best enjoyed by aspiring magicians and those who love and support them. 

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What's the story?

MAGICIANS: LIFE IN THE IMPOSSIBLE reveals the professional and private lives of several working magicians at various stages in their career. The relentless hustle for work, the need to remain fresh and exciting, and the good and the not-so-good gigs are shown to be a huge part of the magician's life. The cameras reveal the challenges of maintaining relationships while on long tours, of finding and keeping audiences, and trying to break through to larger success on television or in Las Vegas. Through interviews and the wide array of work they take on -- everything from corporate seminars to glitzy casino shows, performing for drunk bachelorettes or more friendly audiences at the legendary Magic Castle in Hollywood, through long road trips and lonely hotel rooms -- this documentary shows that there's more to magic than card tricks and levitation. 

Is it any good?

The filmmakers seem a little too attached to their subjects to delve deeper into the challenges unique to being a professional magician, and so in the end, this film feels like a missed opportunity. The magicians in Magicians: Life in the Impossible are shown to be driven, dedicated, and passionate about what they do. They each have their own particular twists on familiar tricks, and through the ups and downs of their careers and the rigors the magician's touring and working life takes on their personal relationships, what emerges is a testament to the persistence and hard work required to make it in this unusual corner of show business. Which is fine, but the problem with this documentary is that it doesn't say anything new or unexpected.

Moments of difficulty, of setbacks, of real conflict are given surface-level mention, hinted at, presented by the subjects of the documentary like someone trying to keep up appearances rather than show true emotion. Frustrations, sadness, regret are glimpsed but never fully explored. One of the most poignant scenes is the interaction between one of the magicians and a young boy after a well-received presentation in a Wisconsin joke shop, but these moments are few and far between. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about documentaries like Magicians: Life in the Impossible. What are some of the ways in which documentaries reveal who people are in both their public and private personas? 

  • How is this documentary similar to and different from other documentaries you've seen?

  • What did this movie reveal about what it's like to be a contemporary professional magician? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love magic

Themes & Topics

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