I was always a big Muppets fan growing up but I must have grown out of “Sesame Street” just before Elmo got there because I have no childhood recollections of the lovable little red fur guy. And judging from how massive Elmo’s a global fan base is today, I’m pretty sure that if I had seen him as a kid, I would have fallen in love with him just as much as everyone else has. Over the years, Elmo has grown to rank as one of the most popular Muppets of all time, standing alongside the likes of Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear. BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY goes beneath the frame to introduce the man below Elmo, Kevin Clash, the self-made puppeteer who found himself crouching alongside Jim Henson and Frank Oz.
Under Constance Marks’ direction, this portrait of Clash is tender one that gives the viewer a true success story. Clash started making puppets when he started watching “Sesame Street” as a child and never looked back. Thanks to the beautifully unflinching support of his parents, said to be the inspiration behind the puppet that would become his legacy, Clash never lost sight of his dreams. His determination and raw talent were evident to all who met him and the love his success has brought him is channeled through the unwavering love of Elmo himself. The film itself isn’t terribly dynamic but what it makes up in formal aesthetic, it more than makes up for in heart. And if there’s anything Elmo has ever taught us, its that heart is what matters most of all.