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Movie review: 'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey'

Movie review: As director Constance Marks proves in her detailed and surprisingly emotional documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey,” Kevin Clash's love of the art form eventually led him to create one of the most popular characters in children's television.
Oklahoman Published: November 18, 2011

“Being Elmo,” which screens this weekend at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, benefits greatly from the singularity of Clash's story: As a teenager, he was spotlighted on the 1970s children's news show “Big Blue Marble,” so plenty of archival footage exists from the beginnings of Clash's meteoric career. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, the film portrays Clash as exhibiting the temperament of so many artists — he communicates most openly and honestly when working through his chosen art form.

Possibly the greatest revelation in “Being Elmo” is how Clash's experience is reflected by new generations. Late in the film, he is visited by a young puppeteer who can identify all the master puppeteers in a Muppets cast portrait and is now creating his own characters. He could be to Clash what Clash was to Henson: An heir apparent. “Being Elmo” illustrates that, no matter how technology alters artists' approach to creating fantasies, something magical happens when a character made of fleece, foam and plastic is given life by a talented artist.

— George Lang


“Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey”