SIFF 2014: I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story ***

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on May 24, 2014)

I kept telling myself “I’m not gonna cry…it’s just a documentary about a man who has made a career out of walking around in a silly bird suit. And spreading joy to the world (*sniff*) and…and making millions of (*sniff*) little children so happy (waterworks now fully engaged). Spinney is the man who has been wearing that silly bird suit (and giving life to Oscar the Grouch as well) for over 40 years now.

There is so much sweetness and light emanating from the subject of Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker’s upbeat profile that he seems too good to be true. But even the film’s darkest Behind the Music interlude (a tragic incident when a murdered woman was discovered on his property) has a silver lining. The film left me feeling so positive that I can forgive its one rather distracting drawback: a cloying, overbearing music score.

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