Today: April 13, 2024

Being Elmo

With The Muppets currently

riding high on the big screen, now is probably the perfect time to release Constance Mark’s documentary Being Elmo, which takes a look at the man
behind the Muppet Elmo; the extraordinarily
talented Kevin Clash.

 

Retracing his
early steps into the art of puppetry from his admiration of Jim Henson’s
shows on TV as a child through to his eventual key role on Sesame Street, it’s a remarkably positive journey
from the streets of Baltimore to the posh studios of the Big Apple.

 

Of course what makes it so enjoyable and inspirational is obviously the
subject himself, Kevin. Never
refusing to let jibes from classmates dampen his dream, his realisation of his
talent from an early age, helped by his extremely supportive parents, is a lesson in positive thinking –
something no doubt inherited from a lifetime of devotion to the shows he works
on.

 

So through
a mix of talking head interviews, early footage from Clash’s career on shows like
Captain Kangaroo and some effective
still-shot graphics which lift anecdotes where no footage exists, Mark’s documentary quickly hooks on to your attention and rarely lets go.

 

It helps that
he has a subject as talkative and completely non-camera-shy as Clash, who stays admirably humble
about his achievements even when his and Elmo’s’ meetings with sick children inspire nothing less than praise and dewy eyes.

 

All of which
means that Being Elmo is one of the most enjoyably
uplifting documentaries you’re likely to see all year, perhaps skimming over the
impact his career and decision to bring joy to other people’s children has had
on his own children’s upbringing. However, Clash is modest enough to admit
he’s not perfect, even if the picture Marks paints is that the
man behind the Muppet is no Muppet at all.

 

A wonderfully
sincere and inspirational documentary, Being Elmo is perfect for anyone who’s
watched The Muppets and wants to see where the real magic comes from.

 

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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