Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



Oscar Predictions

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Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

Film #41


The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Meet the unlikely man behind the puppet - the heart and soul of Elmo - Kevin Clash.

Year 1, Day 40

BEFORE: The second pop culture related documentary is Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey. This documentary was very highly reviewed but I don’t know what to expect. I didn’t watch a lot of Sesame Street as a kid so I don’t have the same connection to Elmo as many other kids probably have.

AFTER: The documentary turned out to be a very moving look at Kevin Clash, the man behind Elmo. While I knew that would be at least part of the film (just look at the plot description), I didn’t think it would be the main premise. I was expecting to learn all about the muppets, Jim Henson, and then, oh by the way, here’s the story of Kevin, a teenager who built puppets of his own.

I think the filmmakers made the right choice in going with Kevin’s story as opposed to a history of the Muppets. Kevin is pretty much as ordinary a person you’ll find in the world. His family wasn’t well off, he watched a lot of television as a child, and he had a hobby to keep himself occupied. As it turns out, Kevin was able to turn that hobby into a career, and a very successful one at that.

While you learn a lot about life and how to succeed in what you do, and I found that extremely enlightening, it wasn’t all there for me. I’m much more appreciative of the puppeteer’s and what they are able to do with foam, fleece, and other materials, but it’s not something I have a strong personal connection to. Anyone who is a fan of the Muppets, Sesame Street, Jim Henson, Frank Oz, puppets in general, or all of the above, should watch this documentary though; it will be highly inspirational.

RATING: 4 out of 5