Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey is the heartwarming story of Kevin Clash, the man behind one of Sesame Street‘s most famous characters, Elmo. Clash grew up in Baltimore where he’d watch The Muppets on television, falling in love with Jim Henson’s wonderful creations. He began to make his own puppets, before eventually working with his hero Henson, and making Elmo the adored character he is today. Now, Clash is one of the creative wizards behind the operation, teaching the art of The Muppets to children who share his passion.
It’s such a lovely story that it ought to be annoyingly sickly, but it manages to remain warm and sweet; like how Elmo should get on everyone’s nerves, but never does. The documentary does skirt around some of Clash’s personal life and it’s sometimes difficult to keep track chronologically, but none of that matters because it’s all just so wonderful, thanks to the footage (both behind and in front of the camera) and most importantly Clash’s own warmth and likability.
The documentary clearly loves its subject, a man who in turn loves his subject. Being Elmo embodies the inclusive, loving and encouraging spirit of The Muppets, and will make you laugh, cry and smile throughout. This Doc/Fest showing takes place on an outdoor screen for free which is fantastic, and even the Sheffield rain can’t put you off such a sweet documentary.