Parents' Guide to

Magicians: Life in the Impossible

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Uninspired docu has some profanity, sexual references.

Movie NR 2016 88 minutes
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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.

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