A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this inspiring documentary about Kevin Clash -- whose dreams of becoming a puppeteer came true when he grew up to become the hands and voice of Sesame Street's beloved Elmo -- shows that if you believe in yourself and work hard at something you love, you can achieve greatness. Not surprisingly for a film set in the world of Sesame Street, there's very little for parents to worry about, though the film may not appeal to the youngest Elmo fans since it's more about Clash than the Sesame characters. There's a passing reference to the strain between Clash and his wife and daughter, whom he doesn't see as often as he'd like because of his busy schedule, but it's handled sensitively.
What's the story?
When Kevin Clash first set eyes on Sesame Street and its cast of Muppet characters as a boy, he immediately realized what he wanted to do with his life: make puppets and bring them to life. By high school he was performing on local TV shows in Baltimore, and eventually he caught the eye of his idol, Jim Henson, the man who created Kermit the Frog and the rest of the Muppets. BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER'S JOURNEY traces Clash's journey from a teenager to the man who created the global Muppet phenomenon Elmo.
Is it any good?
Whoopi Goldberg narrates this inspiring film, which follows a simple chronological arc from Clash's childhood to global acclaim. It never over-trumpets its simple, heartfelt message: Believe in yourself, follow your dreams, and good things will come. Being Elmo simply shows that if you love what you do, trust yourself, and give back to others who may need mentoring, other people will recognize the joy in your work, and you'll be rewarded. This is a valuable lesson for kids and adults.
As a kid who spent his free time making puppets, young Clash was sometimes teased by his peers -- and even his family occasionally wondered he wasn't more interested in sports. But he never wavered: He had already identified his dream, and he didn't want to do anything else. Eventually, his love of puppetry led him to Sesame Street, where he created the amazingly popular Elmo, a character who brings joy to children around the world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Clash's life. How did his family react to his boyhood drive to make puppets and bring them to life? Did any of them expect his hobby to become an amazing career?
What do you like to do? What are your dreams? Do you think you can turn any of your favorite activities into a career?
What do you think about seeing the real people behind your favorite Sesame Street Muppet characters? Is it weird or interesting?
- In theaters: October 21, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: April 3, 2012
- Cast: Kevin Clash, Whoopi Goldberg
- Director: Constance Marks
- Studio: Submarine Deluxe
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Great Boy Role Models, Puppets
- Run time: 76 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild language including a brief drug reference
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love true stories
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.