Make Believe

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Make Believe Movie Poster Image
Teens chase magical dreams in inspiring documentary.
  • NR
  • 2010
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 2 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

While they make it look easy, the teenage magicians in this documentary show how hard work and sacrifice goes far towards meeting and exceeding life goals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each teen magician in this film makes time to follow their passions, they work hard to achieve their dreams, and let they don't let anything stand in their way.


A single use of "s--t" by a secondary character.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this engaging documentary about dedicated, goal-driven teenage magicians should inspire thought and discussion about the amount of work and sacrifice necessary to be successful in any endeavor.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 11-year-old Written byMichelle T. February 13, 2015

Quite a good movie with one iffy part

We watched this with our 9 and 11 year old. While it wasn't as engrossing as some other documentaries we've watched (e.g. Spellbound) we all were ent... Continue reading
Adult Written byNeekus October 14, 2011
Kid, 12 years old July 29, 2013

This movie is magical! Literally and metaphorically!

This documentary is an amazing, inspiring film that shows kids from all over the world and from different backgrounds coming together over a common interest, ma... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old October 3, 2011

cool movie

i like it because its a very good plot

What's the story?

MAKE BELIEVE follows the lives of six up-and-coming teenage magicians as they practice and prepare to compete in the World Magic Seminar in the hopes of being crowned Teen World Champion by professional magician Lance Burton. Coming from places as diverse as Skokie, Illinois, and Kitayama, Japan, each magician talks about the amount of time, effort, and sacrifice it requires to be the successful magician many are in the process of becoming. They meet in Las Vegas, and while they feel a powerful sense of camaraderie, when the competition begins, each magician is focused and determined to be the best.

Is it any good?

This award-winning documentary is a fun and inspiring story. It follows the lives of these quirky single-minded teenagers as they focus all of their energies into being the best magicians they can be. Even for those who aren't fans of magic, this compelling story of teenagers aspiring to, in the words of magician Bill Koch, "excellence: nothing less," is nothing less than enchanting. By the time they make it Las Vegas for the World Magic Seminar, you know what's at stake for these six as they each take the stage to perform their tricks.

Also, for those who are interested in learning magic, the DVD includes over an hour of magic tutorials.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the effort these magicians put into learning their craft. What would happen if you put this much effort into your talents? What sacrifices did these magicians make in order to be successful?

  • Why do you think the filmmakers chose teen magicians as their subject? What makes these stories compelling?

  • How do families and communities work together to make the dreams of these magicians real?

Movie details

  • In theaters: May 13, 2010
  • On DVD or streaming: September 20, 2011
  • Director: J. Clay Tweel
  • Studio: Level 22
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Character strengths: Perseverance
  • Run time: 91 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • Last updated: September 21, 2019

Our editors recommend

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