Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey – Review

Growing up Kevin Clash only wanted one thing; to be a puppeteer like Jim Henson from Sesame Street. After years spent making his own puppets and decades working his way through the world of puppetry Clash is living his dream. Kevin Clash is Elmo.

Told through interviews with Clash, his family and colleagues, bizarrely detailed archive footage and new footage of Clash at work on Sesame Street, making live appearances and throwing one hell of a Sweet Sixteen for his daughter, Being Elmo is a documentary lacking in sensationalism and shock revelations. Being Elmo tells a simple story of a man following his dreams and tells it well.

The resulting film is possibly one of the most heart-warming documentaries I have ever seen, I dare you not to cry at least once. Kevin Clash is a humble man who has succeeded through sheer talent and drive, putting his career ahead of everything else in his life. In Elmo he created a character who simply wants to love and you can see that reflected in the children Clash insists on meeting as Elmo personally, not letting a second puppeteer share the responsibility.

Being Elmo isn’t perfect. Throughout there are hints that not everything was perfect in Clash’s life as he references a divorce and we briefly hear how he regrets spending so much time with other people’s children when he has his own daughter at home. This is definitely the glossy Muppet version of Kevin Clash with any imperfection sewn up with invisible seams.

Being Elmo is all about following your dreams no matter what. What could be wrong with that?