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Being Elmo

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Being Elmo - 2/5/2012 10:11:09 PM   
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One big, glowing, dopey, ear-to-ear grin. - 2/5/2012 10:11:09 PM   

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Joined: 9/3/2012
From: London, UK
Feature-length documentaries are often characterised by their darkness, despair and grizzly, senseless death. But not this one.

This is the filmic equivalent of a two-armed hug from Elmo himself: the story of Kevin Clash is just one big, glowing, dopey ear-to-ear grin.

Kevin grew up watching Sesame Street and The Muppet Show on TV, and it’s his bedazzlement with all things Big Bird, Kermit and Jim Henson that allows us to get swept up along with him – inspiring is the idea that a kid from the arse-end of Baltimore who could only dream of being a part of it, ended up being the heart of it.

In the small cinema screen, surrounded by adults, I heard regular emotional sobs and cheers as another heavily bearded childhood hero came on screen: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Kermit Love and a whole posse of equally perfect puppeteers with their arms buried elbow-deep in fleece, sponge and stitching.

In the seats beside me the couple gripped hands feverishly to the reveal of behind-the-scenes footage from The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth – just knowing that it was Kevin in charge of the dancing Fiery who takes out his eyeballs, tosses them in the air, swallows them and brings them back to their sockets is enough to make you want to re-watch that muppet-creation as soon as you get home.

And to see the sparkle of tears in the eyes of my Henson-loving homeboy in the seat beside me was enough to make me fall in love with Kevin, Elmo and every other man, woman and sock-puppet who populated that muppet universe.

With the exception of the unneccessary TV-friendly voiceover from Whoopi Goldberg, this brightly-coloured Elmo-embrace hardly takes makes a mis-step.

Sure, there are a few flaws you could pick at if you wanted to: the imbalance of screentime devoted to Kevin B.E. (Before Elmo) should have been addressed, and the divergence of the story to his daughter wasn’t great, but there are just so many moments of pure screen-love, that it deserves all

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