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Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
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Index 25 reviews in total 

27 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Excellent story of a man's voice we've all heard

Author: ichazz from United States
11 July 2011

Great documentary about the lovable man behind the voice of Elmo. It's really inspiring to see someone not only come into success from such a humble beginning, but also to be so focused from childhood at one goal.

I personally enjoyed how intertwined his career was with other puppeteers Frank Oz and Jim Henson. The way Kevin tells his stories about working with his childhood idols was so down to Earth and without pretension that I felt like I was hearing it first hand from a friend. By the end of the doc you'll feel like you've known Kevin for years, not just 90 minutes.

10 stars, I hope this gem gets the attention it deserves

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Great film with an equally great story behind it

Author: adzazz1988 from United States
11 July 2011

'Being Elmo' is not only a great flashback into your childhood growing up with Sesame Street, but a truly inspiring and amazing story behind the man who has dedicated his life to one of the most loved characters from the show. It was nothing like I expected it to be. It's not a childish rewind on the history of puppets, but instead a wonderful display of determination and dedication on Clash's part and just a great documentary made by the entire crew. Definitely recommended for everyone. Hopefully this film and its crew will get all of the praise and attention it so rightfully deserves. You will without a doubt be left inspired and moved by Clash's journey.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

If you have ever had a heart, a dream, or a childhood, this movie is for YOU!!!

Author: noetzel-eliora from New York, NY
31 October 2011

From the opening shot of Elmo's eyes and nose pressed up to the screen, it is clear to the audience that this film will be warm and fuzzy (pun intended). Kevin Clash's journey from a quiet kid with an unusual passion, to one of the most legendary and well-respected puppeteers in the world, is downright inspirational. Walking out of the movie theater, I nearly decided to quit my job and pursue my childhood dream of being the first singing ballet dancer in space (then I remembered my rent check dues in two days... alas...).

Being Elmo is not just a screen adaptation of Mr.Clash's incredible book, "My Life as a Furry Red Monster." It is a cinematic adventure that takes you through Kevin's journey and introduces you to a world of puppeteers who live and breathe to create childhood magic. You see and hear stories about the legendary Jim Henson, who is not just the name sake of a major company, but a real person whom Kevin Clash admired tremendously. You observe clips of the television shows that filled Kevin's childhood, and gain a true sense of gratitude for the wonder and excitement muppets once brought, and for many people, continue to bring, into our lives.

Not only is the arch of Kevin's career inspirationally depicted, but the film is a cinematic collection of amazing footage. The amount of work that went obtaining rare footage of Jim Henson interviews, old television shows, and Kevin Clash's audition tapes, as well as the way in which the creative team re-created memories where footage does not exist, makes every last moment as visually relevant and exciting as Kevin's story is touching and fascinating.

That is not to say that you leave the film wanting to work on Sesame Street. To the contrary, you realize that Being Elmo, or any other muppet for that matter, means holding your arms up for long stretches of time, contorting your body into strange positions to stay out of frame, and not getting personal recognition by the public even when you are the heart and soul of a character who is loved by millions. It is a tough job, and the people who do it make huge sacrifices. But you do leave the theater with a true appreciation for the people who dedicate their lives to teaching and inspiring children through the hand-y-work (pun intended again) of their furry friends.

For anyone who has a heart, dream, child, or was a child, do yourself a favor, and let this film restore some of your magical-wide eyed wonder. And never forget, Elmo loves you!!!

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Heart warming and laugh out loud funny

Author: sara-mouser from United States
18 July 2011

I was privileged to see the film at Sundance and was not disappointed. The heartfelt story made me love Elmo even more, who thought that was possible?

I will admit that there seemed to be a bit of a downfall missing. The guy is very likable but I could sense a missing piece. The film touches upon Clash's relationship with his daughter and the strains they endured due to Clash's work-a-holic lifestyle. Yet, the resolution quite wasn't there for me. All things were patched up with a Sweet 16 birthday bash for her. With that said, it doesn't ruin the film and merely left me curious.

The history of Elmo and Clash's relationship with Jim Henson was pure magic. The behind the scenes look at the world of muppeteers truly fascinated me.

I encourage you to check out the film for yourself.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Elmo Represents Love for All Generations!

Author: Alan Just from Minnesota
23 November 2011

"Elmo Represents Love", his love takes you over and warms your heart in one of the most passionate documentary's I've ever seen, "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey". The story of Kevin Clash going from a young boy with a dream of becoming a puppeteer, to providing the voice, the heart and the soul of the world's most beloved puppet; Elmo.

I was so excited to see this documentary. Even from the first time I read about it, I knew that it was going to be a heartfelt tale of a man who achieved his calling in life and is lucky enough to share that gift with people from all over the world and of all generations! When I first sat down in the theater to watch this film, my girlfriend and I were the only people in the seats. We were excited for a minute because we usually feel it's great to have the theater to yourself! Shortly after, a little flow of people came in and joined us. First it was a couple in their middle ages. Next it was a lone man who seemed closer to 100 than to 50. A handful of more couples walked in, one speaking in a foreign language, and finally a man walked in with his young son. I realized before the movie even began that this is a character, a story, and a movie going experience that touches everyone and spans generations. For the next hour and a half, we all sat together and laughed out loud, broke into tears and re-fell in love with Elmo.

Kevin Clash was not a typical kid growing up in the Baltimore area. He fell in love with the puppets he would see on TV and became so inspired that he dedicated all the free time he had to sewing his very own puppets and creating the characters and voices to go along with them. He had early success with his local TV station performing weekly on his very own show that gained local popularity. By the time he was 18 he had given life to more than 85 of his own puppets.

His career was taken to the next level when he was found by one of the most successful puppet creators in the business, a man with a very recognizable name, Kermit Love. Kermit Love took the young Kevin under his wing helping him land parts on shows such as "Captain Kangaroo" and "The Great Space Coaster" and later giving Kevin his biggest break, an introduction with Jim Henson.

The movie continues to talk about the life and rise to stardom of Kevin. The stories accounted are helped out by Kevin's mother and father, shown to always be supportive of Kevin's dream, his brothers and sisters, other puppeteers and entertainers that he has worked with, and unfortunately, Whoopi Goldberg. She would be credited as the Narrator if there was an official title given and I found her to be pretty annoying. In an honest story like this one I thought she was giving a forced emotion to her readings. The music in the movie, obviously assists in making it such a passion filled movie, is prevalent and I found it to be over the top at times. I don't know if there is a moment of the movie not accompanied by an inspiring backdrop of music.

The story very much focuses on the professional life and stardom of Kevin Clash. It almost, too obviously disregards his personal life. I missed the one mention of his "Ex-wife" in the movie and left thinking "with all the time away, this man must have never been at home for his family". It doesn't take anything away for the documentary's sake, but it was something that I noticed. The movie's purpose is to make you feel the love for the character and show selected parts of the puppeteer's journey. It is not a complete tale of the man himself. It chooses to include what it does to portray the desired message.

Perhaps the most interesting story is the creation of the Elmo character. Elmo was first a puppet on Sesame Street voiced in caveman like fashion by famous puppeteer Richard Hunt . When Hunt grew tired of the character and was fed up with the fuzzy red puppet he unceremoniously tossed it to Kevin Clash. In a matter of hours, Kevin transformed the puppet into the character we all now know and love. A Puppet that represents love, and hugs and kisses…and tickles! "Being Elmo" is a moving and heartwarming tale that everyone will enjoy! Large Popcorn.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Feel-Good Story That Proves Nice Guys Don't Always Finish Last

Author: Sean Lamberger from Bradenton, FL
29 March 2012

The super-sweet story of Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Elmo and a variety of other characters, which doubles as a heartwarming look back at the attitudes and atmosphere behind the scenes with Jim Henson's troupe in the glory days. Clash is a master at his craft, a by-product of spending every afternoon since childhood with an arm inside a furry marionette, and when he's not on the air with the cast of Sesame Street, he's contentedly passing that knowledge on to the next generation. It's an attitude he inherited from Henson and his close associate Kermit Love, who took Kevin under their wing and showed him the ropes without any pretense or hesitation. Too often we're too concerned with job security to share the intimate details of our craft with others, least of all the rising young stars, but Love and Henson adopted Clash with selfless warmth and care, a lesson he hasn't forgotten and continues to roll forward to others today. They're a perfect embodiment of everything the Muppets have stood for, complete with a contagious smile that didn't leave my face for hours.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The heart behind the hand behind the puppet.

Author: Antonio Francisco Magaña Gómez from Mexico
6 January 2012

There are many things in life that happens that we're not aware off. Just like magic; sometimes revealing the trick behind the show takes away some of the amazement we feel. I gotta tell you right now: this is not one of those times.

You'll see the common subjects documentaries are made off: the beginnings, the struggle, the breakthrough. But somehow, even if you're aware you're gonna see something special regarding the life of Mr. Clash, it'll take you by surprise. There's this vibe of amazement, seeing the world of the Muppets thru the eyes of Kevin Clash that makes us feel part of it. I have to confess, I'm kind of a cynical man and still found me shedding some tears at certain moments during the movie, not regarding his life, but seeing the kids and watching him being Elmo.

Do yourself a favor: watch this movie with your loved ones. I assure you you'll run to your drawers to make a sock puppet.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Made me want to be a puppeteer

Author: Cebollas de Noche
5 November 2011

If you've enjoyed watching the Muppets/Sesame Street/or the like you'll love this movie. The story of Kevin Clash is not so dramatic as much as it is fascinating and a thorough exploration of the unique world and craft of Muppets. I frequently found myself giggling or chuckling during several scenes, and I was always excited whenever someone put a puppet on to see how they would bring it to life with their voice and motions. The movie showed me where to find the deep hidden meaning in puppets and shows like Sesame Street. This movie made me feel happy, and I don't know that I can explain why except that this is part of the magic of puppeteers like Kevin Clash and their craft.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A Truly Wonderful Person!

Author: liz22193 from Virginia via Dundalk, MD
10 November 2011

I knew Kevin in High School (Dundalk Sr High) back in Baltimore County Maryland, although he probably doesn't remember me. We were in music class together and he was I think, 2 years ahead of me. Nobody in our school could say anything negative about Kevin. From day one, he was hard working and driven, but also the sweetest, kindest and funniest boy in class.

I remember a school concert once, the chorus was on stage sitting on the risers and Kevin was in front of us; but behind the piano with some of his own puppet creations. Kevin was putting on a short show for the audience when he accidentally hit his head (fairly hard) on the back of the piano. Teenagers, being what they are, started laughing and giggling behind Kevin, but the audience had no idea what had happened. We could tell Kevin was hurting, the gestures his body was making behind that piano emphasized his discomfort in a very comical way. Kevin continued on with his show without missing a beat, a puppet change or a line of dialogue. Even at that age, he was a professional.

Kevin played one of the leads in our schools production of "Guys and Dolls", he was Skye Masterson. I think every girl in the High School fell at least a little in love with Kevin during that show. You may know Kevin as the voice of Elmo and other puppet characters, but when he sings, EVERYONE stops to listen! I'm proud to have known Kevin, even if it was just in passing. I enjoy telling people, "I went to High School with Elmo" and watching their reactions as I proudly tell them about Kevin. Kevin Clash's life story is truly an inspiration. Though there might have been a few rough spots here and there, Kevin is proof that anyone, no matter what their circumstances, can make their dreams come true.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

475th Review. A Wonderful, Joyous Documentary

Author: intelearts from the big screen
8 January 2012

It is sad that of the 15 documentaries currently nominated for the 2012 Oscars this wasn't one of them - it clearly deserves to be - it may not be about great injustices or uncovering the new, but it does something that the very best documentaries can do - it makes the world a a better place and the viewer a better person for watching it.

This is simply one my favorite films of the year. Kevin Clash is the man behind Elmo, but he is also a man who never ever wanted to do anything from his earliest memories than to make puppets and be a puppeteer. We live in an age where, thank goodness, video records childhood and meetings and TV archives have the records - so we get not only the interviews but also some wonderful footage - and the full story of how Kevin went from making puppets in his bedroom to being a world-class puppeteer.

I do like documentaries - and the best transcend their category and simply take you on the journey - that journey that the greatest drama and comedies can - where you can't wait to see the next frame - where as the story unfolds so does the magic.

Being Elmo does have movie magic. What lifts this is the joy it brings and shares, not just the Muppets and Jim Henson, but just the wonderful spirit that doing what you really love can bring.

It may not be a pure documentary in the truest sense of the word, but is immensely charming and it leaves you laughing, crying, and wishing everyone got to do what they hoped to do as a child.

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