Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Dec 1, 2011
    78
    Despite its short running time, Being Elmo is an engrossingly layered documentary.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Nov 17, 2011
    75
    The most interesting part of this lively, likable documentary is the journey.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Nov 22, 2011
    75
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 21, 2011
    83
    The greater the illusion the greater the manipulator, and few are as good as Kevin Clash, the subject of Constance Marks's sprightly six-years-in-the-making documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey.
  5. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Nov 2, 2011
    100
    A marvelous movie.
  6. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Oct 17, 2011
    83
    Despite its predictably cheery vibe, Being Elmo implies a certain darkness lingering beneath the surface of Clash's life.
  7. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Nov 3, 2011
    70
    A documentary as gentle as its subject: the story of a boy who realized his dream and, on the film's evidence, received a lot of encouragement and support along the way.
  8. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 1, 2011
    100
    His a wonderful, touching story, one that made me want to scoop up every kid I know who has a scrap of creative talent, and have them watch the film. Because Elmo's story is sweet -- but Clash's is nothing short of inspiring.
  9. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Oct 21, 2011
    60
    For any adult feeling overwhelmed by bad news and dark times, your antidote is right here.
  10. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Oct 21, 2011
    75
    This Muppet virtuoso is so visibly thrilled to work in Henson's weird and wonderful world, and so good at bringing joy to little kids, you'd have to be a true Grouch not to be moved.
  11. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Oct 27, 2011
    88
    Though one gets a sense there is part of the story Marks isn't telling, we do pay attention to the man behind the curtain.
  12. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Nov 23, 2011
    83
    It might have poked a bit more into Clash's personal story, but as a story of man and puppet it's grand.
  13. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Dec 15, 2011
    75
    A breezy account of a man whose obsession began early.
  14. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Oct 16, 2011
    25
    Not everyone's life is compelling enough to warrant the documentary treatment, but whether this truism applies to master puppeteer and current Sesame Street producer Kevin Clash is a question that Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey, Constance Marks's fawning portrait of the Muppet- master fails to answer.
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Dec 1, 2011
    75
    The most mesmerizing parts of the movie make up a tutorial about how the Muppets are made and moved.
  16. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Oct 19, 2011
    83
    The moral to Clash's story? It's surprisingly easy being red.
  17. Reviewed by: Marsha Lederman
    Mar 16, 2012
    63
    The film is narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, who also shows up as an interviewee, and in a Sesame Street clip, which frankly feels odd. Worse: the script she has to work with is often lacklustre.
  18. Reviewed by: Justin Lowe
    Oct 16, 2011
    90
    Being Elmo is a rare documentary that will connect across generations and cultures to delight viewers worldwide for years to come.
  19. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Oct 20, 2011
    70
    The film, by Constance Marks, is a little light on details of Mr. Clash's personal life once he broke through, but otherwise this is a winning tale of the persistence and creativity behind one of the most famous and fuzziest faces in the world.
  20. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Oct 18, 2011
    60
    But take the puppet off his arm and he seems somehow vague and incomplete, like the Wizard of Oz without his curtain.
  21. Reviewed by: Jamie Graham
    Apr 16, 2012
    80
    2012 is the year of the Muppet, and we don't mean Ashton Kutcher. After Jason Segel's fur-filled revival, rejoice in a documentary to make you laugh and, yes, cry.
  22. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Oct 16, 2011
    70
    All in all, the pace -- although buoyed by Joel Goodman score -- is rather plodding until Clash's life story intersects with that of the little red guy, at which point it lifts off. And even yanks a tear or two.
  23. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Oct 18, 2011
    50
    Constance Marks's documentary on Kevin Clash, the kind, gentle man who created the Muppet beloved by every single child in the world, rushes through the intriguing points its interviewees bring up to devote more time to banalities.
  24. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Nov 10, 2011
    50
    And that's the moral of this story. Or one of them, anyway. Clash's success is shown as the result of a combination of talent, gumption, pluck, misadventure, supportive parents, following your dreams, luck and, yes, love.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Mar 6, 2012
    8
    Great documentary about a young boy who grows up, builds his own puppets, falls in love with Seasame Street, and then creates the muppet,Great documentary about a young boy who grows up, builds his own puppets, falls in love with Seasame Street, and then creates the muppet, Elmo. Inspirational, touching story that brought back my own childhood memories of The Mulpet Show, Dark Crystal, Captain Kangaroo, and heart-breakingly, the day Jim Henson died at the young age of 53. Full Review »
  2. Nov 8, 2011
    9
    The name Elmo is recognizable worldwide. The furry, sweet, and cute red puppet is an icon, but do you know who the man is that gives Elmo hisThe name Elmo is recognizable worldwide. The furry, sweet, and cute red puppet is an icon, but do you know who the man is that gives Elmo his signature voice? Being Elmo: A Puppetteer's Journey introduces us to Kevin Clash, the first African-American to work as a Muppeteer and the heart and soul of Elmo. He came from Baltimore with a dream to work with Jim Henson and now is a pivotal piece in the Sesame Street puzzle.

    As a kid, Clash was inspired by television shows such as Captain Kangaroo and, of course, Sesame Street, and his passion became making puppets and letting them come to life. He watched and observed what he saw on these shows and spent a lot of his high school days perfecting his craft. He got his big break by performing his puppeteering on a local TV show and from there the sky was the limit. Or for his case it was working with the one and only Jim Henson. Not only does Clash get to meet and work for him, but they form a friendship before Henson passed away.

    Directors Constance Marks and Philip Shane put together a captivating and engaging documentary for all ages. It is a gentle, sweet, and inspiring story about a man who pursued his dreams and achieved it. Now this doesn't mean he hasn't made sacrifices or missed some valuable time with his daughter because he has. It hasn't been easy and making puppets in high school is certainly going to get you teased and made fun of, but Clash lets nothing or no one stand in his way, and has amazing support from his parents which some children are not lucky enough to get. Seeing how much Elmo means to Clash is heart touching, but what Elmo means to kids is just mind-blowing. And when a sick child's one wish is to meet Elmo, Clash still can't believe he gets to play a part in making it come true.

    This documentary is infectious and moving on so many levels. Clash is a genius when it comes to his puppeteering, but is also just a nice, genuine guy who loves what he does. He carries on the dedication, passion, and magic that Henson started. Being Elmo is uplifting and only proves that you really can do anything you want, but you must have the focus and hard work or you may just keep reaching for a dream and never actually grabbing it. You just can't go wrong with a feel-good film like this, and the fact that it is a true story makes it that much better.
    Full Review »