Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

"Excellent"

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey Review


Kevin Clash is one of America's most popular performers, and yet he's rarely recognised in public. This wonderfully engaging documentary catches us off guard with a warm and honest portrayal of an extraordinarily generous man who has never lost his childlike wonder.

Growing up in Baltimore, Clash was transfixed when Sesame Street launched in 1969 and introduced the original Muppets. Watching Jim Henson explain how they worked made Clash want to join them. After chopping up his dad's coat to make a puppet, he began putting on shows for the neighbourhood. And audiences responded. While still a teen, he became a local TV celebrity. Then at 17 he met legendary puppet builder, Kermit Love, who taught him the secrets of the business and introduced him to Henson.

The film is assembled nostalgically, as Clash remembers the joy he discovered in making children smile at his puppetry, even though he was picked on at school for playing with "dolls". As he meets his heroes, we vividly get the sense of a talented teen living out his wildest dreams. It's a thoroughly involving story packed with fascinating detail not only about Clash but about the Muppets and showbiz in general. And it's illustrated with fantastic archival footage of Clash, plus telling interviews with friends, family and colleagues.

Most involving is Clash's realisation of how puppets like Elmo both teach children and give them hope. Scenes in which Elmo interacts with needy children are hugely emotional. So when he talks about becoming a father, the film's warmth becomes almost overwhelming. And when Elmo's popularity rockets into the stratosphere, Clash never loses his love of making children laugh, even as he finds it tricky to balance work with family life.

As Clash observes, when a puppet character is meaningful and true, you're seeing the soul of the puppeteer. Indeed, watching Clash put Elmo on his arm is astonishing, as life and personality suddenly burst out of this mass of bright red fur. Now he's not only supervising the Sesame Street Muppets, but he's mentoring aspiring puppeteers just like Henson and Love did with him. Films don't get much more inspirational than this.



Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Friday 27th April 2012

Box Office USA: $0.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $286.2 thousand

Distributed by: Submarine Deluxe

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 68 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Constance Marks

Producer: Corinne LaPook, Constance Marks,

Starring: as Himself, as Himself, as Narrator (voice), as Himself, Fran Brill as Herself, Joan Ganz Cooney as Herself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Kermit Love as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.