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71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics What's this?

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7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

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  • Summary: 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 Street and the Jim Henson Workshop. (Submarine Entertainment) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Oct 19, 2011
    83
    The moral to Clash's story? It's surprisingly easy being red.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. 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 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.
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  2. 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, 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. Expand

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