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Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011)



Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 22
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 9,545

My Rating

Movie Info

Beloved by children of all ages around the world, Elmo is an international icon. Few people know his creator, Kevin Clash, who dreamed of working with his idol, master puppeteer Jim Henson. Displaying his creativity and talent at a young age, Kevin ultimately found a home on Sesame Street. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this documentary includes rare archival footage, interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O'Donnell, Cheryl Henson, Joan Ganz Cooney and others and offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame


Documentary, Television

Philip Shane, Justin Weinstein

Apr 3, 2012


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All Critics (72) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (4) | DVD (3)

Constance Marks's film is a simple cut-and-paste job, drawing on new interviews and archive, but what it lacks in refinement it makes up for in infectious warmth.

April 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Clash is] portrayed as a mild-mannered, kind, giving, supremely talented soul, with a deep love for the puppet he animates and the children who love him.

March 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite an exhaustive series of interviews with famous puppeteers and a few celebs (among them Whoopi Goldberg, who also narrates), it's a documentary that feels a bit tedious by journey's end.

March 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Comments (5)
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey" is the story of a young man who knew what he wanted to do and did it, who made his dreams real. This may be the most truly American movie in memory.

February 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Watching Clash realize his dream is gratifying, and the behind-the-scenes Muppets stuff is fun.

December 15, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Backstage at the Muppet works, we see countless drawers filled with eyeballs, eyebrows, whiskers and wigs. It's the only world Kevin wanted to live in, and he made it.

November 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even if Elmo was a little after your time, the doc is sure to wring a few tears out of nostalgia prone adults with its behind-the-scenes look at a show everybody grew up with.

July 10, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

Young or old, Elmo fan or not, anyone can find something of real value in Clash's story.

June 4, 2012 Full Review Source:

Gentle, sincere, and filled with moments of genuine joy and wonderment, this story of a boy who came to realise his dreams is as good-natured and uncontroversial as Elmo himself.

May 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Film4

I'll go to my grave believing that Elmo is a punk. Kevin Clash, however, is definitely not a punk, not one bit.

May 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Constance Marks's delightful, unpretentious documentary both captures the man in all his complex simplicity and throws light on his craft.

April 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

More than 100 million Elmo owners can't be wrong, can they?

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

He seems like a genuinely nice celebrity, possibly because he is never recognised in the street.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

A sweet, engaging documentary, Being Elmo largely steers clear of Clash's personal life to offer a wholesome portrait of a man who has dedicated himself to the thing he loved.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

He simply seems to be a good guy who created something that little children love. Fair enough.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian

What a terrific bunch of guys the Muppets/Sesame Street creators are, not just spiritually, but technically.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Slight, but an uplifting, universal rallying call for creative people to follow their dreams.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

It's not what you'd call a hard-hitting portrait but, like Elmo, it is ridiculously sweet, sprightly and warm.

April 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Scotsman

A charming, if occasionally surface-deep look at the man behind the fur. Elmo like!

April 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A revealing insight into the Henson universe, and a winning study of the hard work that goes into turning fake fur and plastic eyeballs into an international craze.

April 17, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

Underdogs, dreams, imagination, artistry, unashamed emotion... it's the cinematic equivalent of a big red hug.

April 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

[A] wonderful documentary.

April 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A feel-good documentary about a cheerful guy who's not made out of felt (but probably would be just as cheerful if he was).

March 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Audience Reviews for Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

If I could be anything I wanted to be then a Sesame Street puppeteer would definitely be in my top 5 along with astronaut and Superhero. Watching this documentary is like watching a life that I really want, a long time fantasy of mine come true, but unfortunately for me, happening to somebody else. Being a Muppet fan I loved it, you get to see some really good behind the scenes footage and hear stories from before Jim Henson's untimely death. There are moments of pure tenderness here, beautifully captured but never exploited. It captures everything I love about the Muppets and hopefully after seeing this people wont be so quick to make fun or judge us adult fans or use the term 'Muppet' in a derogatory way. The DVD extras are also brilliant for fellow Muppet fans. The documentary structure is nothing special but I'm rating this film on my enjoyment of it rather than for technicalities.
June 18, 2014

Super Reviewer

With such a great story to tell, this documentary, "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey" is definitely as heartwarming as it is enlightening and funny. Watching someone who started from nothing and becoming the icon that children always talk about is really something special. Kevin Clark definitely knows how to touch children's hearts with puppets, but it is his passion towards his talent that truly makes his life incredible. This film was very well-made, capturing every detail he was speaking about. There are no complaints I have with this documentary whatsoever, I just have a hard time giving a perfect score to a film that may be cheated behind the scenes. Overall, this is a beautiful film that should influence young minds alike.
June 17, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Great documentary about talented puppeteer Kevin Clash who performed the role of Elmo on Sesame Street. This is a great film that goes in depth into his career, even if it's a bit short, but it manages to give you a look at Clash's incredible rise into becoming the voice of the famed character. In terms of being a documentary, Being Elmo is a fine film that goes deep into its subject, and makes for terrific viewing. Featuring great interviews with Kevin Clash, his family and the people he works with. The film is short, but more than makes up for its length with a plateau of behind the scenes footage, great interviews and a terrific subject. This is a must watch documentary and one that is quite entertaining for what it tries to do. Going behind the scenes and chronicling the career of Elmo's puppeteer is terrific, and here we get a look at his talent, his career and above all his influence and legacy. This is what documentary films should be, and while going in depth into its subject, you are captivated at how one character has touched so many people. Entertaining and fun, Being Elmo is a well crafted documentary that is one of the finer recent documentaries in recent memory. The film may be short, but like I said, it more than makes up for it with great interviews and workings of how Elmo came t6o be, and how Kevin Clash became one of the best puppeteers in the business. Worth seeing if you grew up watching Sesame Street as a kid or if you're curious about the character itself and how Elmo became what he is today.
January 27, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

It's interesting, but I didn't see why it got all the hyperbolic praise it did. It's far from the first public glimpse inside Henson's workshop, and though it gives a complete account of the origin and impact of Elmo - and the dedication of a prodigious second-generation puppeteer - it didn't move me at all.
December 13, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. Kevin Clash: To this day, when a Make a Wish child or a sick child is there, the majority of the time, they'll ask for Elmo.
    – Submitted by Carrie G (2 years ago)
    1. Kevin Clash: They would say, 'Well, there's a child that has a wish of spending time with Elmo... Well, the wish is because she's a sick child - and this is her dying wish.'
    – Submitted by Carrie G (2 years ago)
    1. Whoopi Goldberg: The thing that people love about Elmo, is he needs them.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Kevin Clash: I knew that Elmo should represent love.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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