Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 17, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2014
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.
Super Reviewer
April 5, 2013
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.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2012
Its simply beautiful. Having Jim Henson looked as a true model, this gives us a perfect understanding of a hungry puppeteer.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2011
We are all very familiar with the muppets in Sesame Street, but we don't really know much about the puppeteers. In this inspiring and heartwarming documentary we meet the fantastic Kevin Clash - once a young boy from a poor background, whose steadfast devotion to his dreams of puppeteering, led him on an amazing and life-changing journey, where he would eventually become the man behind the beloved muppet Elmo. During this rise to fame, we follow along as he becomes friends and colleagues with such venerable legends as Frank Oz and the late Jim Henson. The film includes a lot of old footage and interviews with the two, so if you're a fan of either, you should definitely not miss this. Anyone who has ever loved The Muppets or Sesame Street, have much to be delighted by as well, as it gives us a great behind-the-scenes look at how all the magic is created. In effect, we are taught that puppeteering is not just a matter of putting your hand inside a piece of fabric, but a subtle art that demands extraordinary talent. What I love most about Kevin Clash's story though, is that he seems like such a genuinely nice and compassionate human being. There are some incredibly moving moments in the film, like when he brings a smile to the face of a terminally ill young girl, whose last dying wish is to spend a little time with Elmo. These wonderfully poignant qualities made it a very emotionally enriching experience and one of the best feel-good films that I've seen in recent years. A wildly fascinating success story, with a lot of charm and soul, whose only real downside is that it's over far too soon. Time just flew by for me, and if you have the slightest bit of interest in it, I'm sure it will for you too!
Super Reviewer
½ April 27, 2012
Though it feels a bit like a missed opportunity, stretched too thin to explore any of its subjects deeply, this Cinderella love story is about as sweet and loveable as Elmo himself as we watch his puppeteer's growth alongside the birth of Sesame Street and The Muppets. With the success of the latest Muppets movie, I wonder if the public is ready to see another Dark Crystal/Labyrinth fantasy-style film. But I guess this movie begs the question - who alive today has that kind of creative vision?
Super Reviewer
April 17, 2012
Being Elmo is much more interesting than it first appears. It's about a man, Kevin Clash, who became fascinated with puppets at an early age. He began making his own and doing shows for neighborhood kids and parents. Before long, he was making a living from it and then he made it huge with the character of Elmo. A character that his friends say resembles him. 

The film is beautifully made and is quite moving. We see a guy(celebrity in his own right, even though you may not recognize him) who had to endure and fight for what he wanted to do and that was to be a puppeteer. He received help from some of the best in the business. Without them, he may have never created the Elmo we know today. He knows that too, because now he helps those kids that are just like him. The kids that are just as fascinated with puppets as he was as a child. He hasn't forgotten the feelings he had as a kid, and remembers that he needed help. The film goes through the reversal from when Kevin was receiving the help to now, where he is giving the help. It's really nice to see a success like Kevin Clash, that still gives back and helps. 

If there is a complaint with the film, it would be that it is too short. It come in at around 73 minutes and while that isn't necessarily a bad thing; I could have definitely watched more. I guess that says more about how good it is, rather than being a complaint. This film really won me over, especially because I didn't know how I would react to it. I was never a huge Sesame Street fan, nor have I ever been enthused by puppets. But that really doesn't matter here. I like Kevin Clash and this movie shows the man behind the puppet in a really engrossing way. I would find it hard to believe that anyone could watch this and not fall in love with it.
Super Reviewer
½ October 9, 2011
The story of puppeteer Kevin Clash, and his exceptional rise from small town neighborhood to a rich man with a penchant for artistic puppetry and know how, is seen through the eyes of himself especially. The film follows a meteoric rise when he is just in high school to local television gigs, and then onto working with Jim Henson. The best sequences of the film are when Kevin relates stories of the other puppeteers who he has revered since childhood. Kevin is a very devoted and compassionate person, shown through the intensive ways he teaches, nurtures, and cares for the youth of the world. It is that implicit beauty that he brings to this film. You watch his rise with a feeling of pride for him, as he deserves everything he gets. He relates anecdotes of Frank Oz, Jim Henson, the cast of Sesame Street, and people he has touched with his magic. It truly amazed me that so much of his life was shot on film. Events that are usually only mentioned in interviews were actually filmed as they were happening during the seventies and eighties in true documentary style. The film also covers much of what makes puppetry an art form, the subtle nuances of facial expressions and the voices, personalities, and extraordinary characteristics of these characters he creates just by putting his hand inside a fleece mouth. What felt a tad neurotic to me was the fact that this film is only one hour and sixteen minutes long, as it was a television doc. It covers the backstory of Kevin Clash, but it also leaves quite a bit out. Though we get a sense of Kevin, I didn't see enough of Elmo. After his inception there is little that isn't covered in interviews with celebrities, news footage, and footage from Sesame Street. Though I'm glad it covered what it did and shone a light on one of the richest men in life and wealth, I just wished I could have seen more of the life of the Sesame Street icon as he is now and has been. Still, an impressive film with a positive message for all ages.
Super Reviewer
March 2, 2012
If you've ever seen an episode of 'Sesame Street', or are a fan of the Muppets, I highly recommend this...Very cool to see the journey of Kevin Clash and how he eventually ended up "being Elmo".
Super Reviewer
March 23, 2011
In keeping with the spirit of Elmo, Kevin's story is uplifting, educational and inspirational.
Super Reviewer
½ January 1, 2012
I loved this documentary for a number of reasons, but perhaps the main one was because of how nostalgic and personal it was to me. As a young child, I adored Sesame Street and The Muppet, so to see the magic behind the scenes explored was magical. The skills of a puppeteer are explored and it makes you appreciate the talent these people have for bringing life to these characters. Another reason why I loved ''Being Elmo'' was because it did what a documentary should do, make you interested in a person or subject you either didn't care about before or had no knowledge of. ''Being Elmo'' delves into the life of the creator of Elmo, Kevin Clash. He is such a fascinating and talented person and, though he didn't face any strong conflict during his rise to stardom, his journey is incredibly engaging to watch. And, though ''Being Elmo'' is not strictly a Muppet movie or an episode of Sesame Street, it still has a lot of heart and proves to be a joyous experience.
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2012
Elmo is one of the most famous characters in the world. Everyone knows Elmo, but most people don't know the man behind Elmo. The first thing about this fascinating and highly entertaining documentary that struck me, was Elmo is played by a big black man. I would have never, in a million years thought that. I figured Elmo was some small white woman. This is a movie about Kevin Clash, the man behind Elmo, and his journey to get there. Raised in Baltimore, he fell in love with Sesame Street and puppets, and made it his mission to become a puppeteer. The story follows him as a child making his own puppets, to how he came to work for Jim Henson, to his worldwide success as Elmo. Clash is entertaining, enlightening, and seems just as genuine as the characters he creates. You find yourself rooting for him and are happy when he makes it, then feel sad when he talks about the time away from his daughter. You get a peak behind the curtain of the Muppets, and get to see first hand how they perfect their craft and how hard their job is. If you were ever a fan of the muppets or sesame street, then this is mandatory viewing. This is not only one of the best documentaries I've seen, but it's one of the better movies you will see too.
Super Reviewer
½ March 23, 2014
Even as possibly sanitized as "Being Elmo" is, it is still a worthwhile documentary portrait of Kevin Clash, who is best known as the man and voice behind Elmo, who depending on your age and the amount of kids you have, is either the most endearing or the most annoying muppet ever. But such success as you can guess did not come easily. Kevin's life started modestly enough in a poor neighborhood in Baltimore, raised by caring parents. His interest in puppets was inspired by shows like Sesame Street. Even before he graduates from high school, he starts doing local shows which leads to local television which leads to Captain Kangaroo and then being introduced to Jim Henson. So, you can see how one generation encourages and inspires the next which is what Kevin is doing currently. And throughout we get to see the complex process of animating a puppet which they make look so easy.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2012
An inspirational look at the life and career of Kevin Clash. He meets and eventually works for Jim Henson. Kevin gets to develop the character of Elmo, who has become an international sensation. It is a student becomes the master kind of story. The doc is most entertaining when showing behind the scenes footage of Kevin's early puppetry career, how the Muppets are built, and how they are operated for various TV and movie appearances. If this movie is any indication, Kevin Clash is carrying on Jim Henson's legacy for the next generation.
That Darn Alyssa
Super Reviewer
May 19, 2012
I just finished watching the documentary Being Elmo on Netflix. It has been under the recommended titles for some time now and I finally decided to watch it. (after looking up the ratings on rotten tomatoes) Being Elmo is a heartwarming film about the puppeteer behind the voice of Elmo, Kevin Clash. I had a warm feeling where my heart is located from beginning to end, and even teared up midway through. The film guides you through Kevin Clash's life from a boy creating his own puppets to his dream of working with the man behind it all, Jim Henson. It also shows us the creation of Elmo and why he is loved by the world. (and that dreams can come true with a little bit of luck and hard work) If your not looking for any particular movie to watch check this one out.
Super Reviewer
½ February 5, 2012
Pure magic! The man behind (or below) Elmo of Sesame Street is Kevin Clash and if there was a more oxymoronic name for he is a very lovable and sweet puppeteer. You walk out of the movie grinning and that says it all. (2-5-12)
Super Reviewer
½ July 12, 2015
There's far more to it than you'd imagine.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2012
Touching doc about Kevin Cash. Must see.
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2012
I loved it! It was a completely different look at muppets/puppets told through one man's journey to Sesame Street and beyond. It was really touching and engrossing.
Super Reviewer
January 29, 2012
A touching story of how Elmo and the puppeteer who control him came to light. I found this very interesting and really watchable. It is definitely one of the biopics that focuses more on the end result and not the journey in the sense that you always know it will be a happy ending, you just want confirmation of that. It also sheds light in to the puppeteering industry, specifically the work of Jim Henson which I found interesting also.
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