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Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey Reviews

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knutanders12
August 3, 2014
i never new the voice behind the puppet.
June 1, 2012
Inspiring. Magical. Imaginative.

These are just some of the words that came to mind as I thought of how to describe this documentary. Most documentaries these days seem to want educate about some horrible event or injustice with the requisite call for action. While those kinds of documentaries are very important, it was nice to see one that just makes you feel good. The second I saw this trailer, I knew it was going to be something special and had to see it. Rest assured, it didn't disappoint.

This is the story of Kevin Clash; the amazing man behind Elmo from Sesame Street. It chronicles his life from youth where he discovered his love of puppets; to his big breaks meeting people like the man who created Captain Kangaroo and Jim Henson (the creator of Sesame Street) and how he came about Elmo and the tremendous impact it's had. As you watch the documentary, it becomes clear that Kevin was born to this. As he pursues puppetry you can't help but cheer for him. Along the way I got a glimpse of a world I knew very little about and it was fascinating: how the puppets are built, tricks of the trade, how the puppeteers bring them to life and the really interesting people in the industry.

While this isn't the best documentary I've seen from a technical perspective, the story is what makes this great. It's just really moving (it had me fighting back tears on a number of occasions). It's just incredible to see how these guys (and Kevin specifically) can bring so much joy to children; all with just a piece of cloth. I found it amazing that you'd see Kevin at an event with Elmo. And even though there's a man standing there holding a puppet, you can't help but be drawn to Elmo. There's so much life and personality breathed into it, it's almost like Kevin isn't there. Especially with the children he visits. Someone in the film says with great puppets what you are seeing is the soul of the puppeteer. And after watching this, I'd have to agree. It's really amazing stuff; these guys are magicians in my eyes and under appreciated.

A sense of joy just permeates through this documentary in a way that is very rare. When it was over, I wanted more and didn't want it to end. I think what stuck me the most was something he said that reminded me a bit of a Steve Jobs graduation address that was being circulated after he died. Kevin seems to hit on the same theme and says (I'm paraphrasing here):

"Some people may say, well, you won't make any money doing that... All those things will go away if you focus on what makes you happy".

Kevin Clash is living his dream and this documentary inspires us to do the same. Definitely watch this, you won't regret it.
KJ P

Super Reviewer

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.
April 30, 2014
I probably smiled the entire movie...not wife approved, though. She passed out within the first 20 minutes. I guess she doesn't like being happy.
May 23, 2013
An interesting documentary. I wish more parts were dramatized.
March 25, 2014
i really liked this :) it was crazy interesting because who thinks about the puppeteers behind the muppets?? i never did. and his story is kind of touching -- being the big blob of goop i am on the inside i did let one tear slide when they noted the Make A Wish foundation or whatever that was... super touching. and even though i wasn't a die hard Sesame Street watcher as a kid, i did watch it a little bit and most of the characters he played i remember watching -- so that was a nice trip down memory lane. also, the fact that his first job was a puppeteer for Labyrinth and how they touched on that film made me smile -- love that movie. i recommend it!
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

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.
November 13, 2011
This movie isn't exactly hard-hitting, daring nor does it reveal much. It does however peek into the interesting world of Muppets and the psychology behind making them seem so alive and full of personality. It's alright, however I can't shake the feeling that this movie would have been better suited to be broadcast on PBS or some other network on TV rather than be screened as a feature length documentary in theaters.
TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

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.
October 13, 2013
It made me like Elmo more, I've always found Elmo annoying. I love seeing how Sesame Street is made as I grew up with the show and had the honor to experience Jim Henson when he was alive.
December 3, 2013
wish this was easier to get.
Daniel P

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.
November 27, 2013
A wonderfully charming portrait of an immensely talented performer and his journey to puppeteering an icon. You're bound to feel warm and fuzzy after this one.
December 5, 2013
Passa longe de ser um filme motivacional.
Trata de inocência, carinho, esperança, de levar o que se tem de melhor ao próximo e de como isso é importante pra ambos.
Vai muito além de acreditar num sonho, mas de sê-lo.
November 2, 2013
A great inspiring film.
Noel P.
September 27, 2013
I deliberated for ages whether I thought this would be worth watching, I was nicely surprised that this documentary had several layers to it, it brought a lot of childhood memories back to me. It is a wonderful insight into puppetry as well as the world created by Jim Henson through the Muppets and Sesame Street. Loved it!
September 26, 2013
I personally hate Elmo, mainly cause he has been dominating Sesame Street for the last decade or so, making many of the beloved characters of my childhood take a back seat the incredibly repetitive "Elmo's World", but as movie looking about the man behind the puppet and with all the great behind the scenes footage of Jim Henson, overall this is worth seeing if you are a muppets fan or just happen to love Elmo, although it seem to skim over large areas of Clash's life so it seems kinda disjointed..
October 20, 2012
Fascinating and touching.
September 4, 2013
A pretty interesting doc about this history of a worldwide icon, and it shed a lot of light about what was going on underneath the puppet stand.
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