Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei star in Andy Fickman's family comedy.
A documentary which gets under the skin of the man under the slightly furrier skin of Elmo the Muppet.
This lovely, heartfelt, and determinedly unchallenging film tells the story of Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who breathed life into the Muppet known as Elmo, the red, furry hug-machine beloved by kids around the world. Directed by near-rookie Constance Marks, the film sees Clash rise from his TV-obsessed upbringing in Baltimore - where he cut apart the fur lining from his father's best coat to create his first puppet - to the top of his field, working with his idol Jim Henson and the Muppets on Sesame Street. It was here that Elmo would serendipitously enter his life.
Elmo, we discover, was originally conceived as 'Baby Monster', with a voice like a Baltimore dock worker. But Clash's falsetto version and belief that Elmo "should represent love" instantly connected with the children watching at home. Not only did they enjoy the character, but they were also "learning from it" - the ultimate aspiration for any Sesame Street puppet.
Clash is a truly engaging and positive interviewee, and incredible archive footage really brings his story to life, especially an astonishing sequence at Jim Henson's funeral. There are also some fascinating insights into the puppeteer's world - Henson's invisible stitch, drawers full-to-bursting with eyes - from an array of fellow puppeteers, producers and celebrity fans, among them Frank Oz (aka Miss Piggy) and Whoopi Goldberg.
Nothing bad ever happens on Sesame Street, and the filmmakers seem to have subscribed to that philosophy. Perhaps my wish that the director had probed a little deeper into murkier waters is due to cynicism on my part. If so, this film, which highlights how joy and love can have such a positive impact on so many people, could be just the cure for that.
Gentle, sincere, and filled with moments of genuine joy and wonderment, this story of a boy who came to realise his dreams is as good-natured and uncontroversial as Elmo himself.
Horror, mystery and suspense stake its claim on the weekend. A new season of Saturday Night Shocks comes to Film4.
A documentary account of Edwyn Collins' recovery from a cerebral haemorrhage with the help of his wife, Grace Maxwell
BIFA-nominated films including the Film4-backed 45 Years, The Lobster, Macbeth, Amy and Ex Machina will be available in cinemas nationwide from 23 November in a special public screenings event. The
Film4 has received a total of 41 nominations for the films it has backed at this year¿s British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), with the nomination lists for the Best British Film and Best Director a
A summary of the critics and film professionals who voted for the top 50 Horror films of the 21st Century
As voted for by a panel of horror experts and friends of Film4 & FrightFest