Searching (2018)

I've seen Searching pop out in several "Top Movies of 2018" lists and, knowing absolutely nothing about it, I decided to check it out.

The film follows David Kim (John Cho), a widower who is trying his best to raise his 16-year-old daughter Margot (Michelle La). When Margo mysteriously goes missing, he finds out just how little he knows about his daughter. Left with only a trail of breadcrumbs that exists entirely on the internet, David joins forces with detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing) in a desperate attempt to find his daughter before it's too late.

The story, which starts with a touching, heartfelt sequence that reminds of the opening of Disney-Pixar's Up, is tremendously gripping and compelling. The mystery and tension are gradually built up as the story unfolds, and the final twist is perfectly delivered. A note to those saying it is unrealistic, unbelievable and therefore impossible to see it coming: I knew there was something going on with that character as soon as he/she appeared in the film. I was actually waiting for that twist to happen, as I wanted to know why, and when it did finally happen, I was not disappointing with it.

Searching's isn't just a story that suits a thriller well, it's also a thought-provoking one as it deals with social media and the negative effects they have on our lives —specifically, it tackles catfishing. It also works as a commentary on today's society, the era of fake news and fake love only to have attention, views and likes —when David questions her about his daughter, one of the girls in Margot's study group confesses that she barely knew her. Later on, when the media is all over the case, she posts a video, in tears, saying how much she misses her best friend—, when people make jokes about horrible happenings —in here, they joke and makes meme about David having killed his daughter.

The script features solid characters as well as they are nicely developed and well-characterised, and because of that, you care about them. David Kim is a father who's fighting to find his daughter. His never giving up, his determination to find out what really happened, no matter how hard to handle the truth could be, really show how much he loves her and make you root for him. And John Cho's excellent performance makes us feel his pain and desperation. As for the supporting cast, Michelle Lu doesn't excel in her scenes but Debra Messing gives a great performance as the detective assigned to the case.

Sony Picture Realising
No matter how compelling the script and performances are, the most impressive aspect of Searching is the inventing, creative technique that was used to make the film. The film is entirely delivered by either laptop screens, smartphone footages or security cameras. This technique is the film's greatest strength as it makes the film incredibly immersive —if feels like you are there, like you are the father— and ultimately manages to keep you glued to the screen, on the edge of your seat until the very end. Sure, it's not an entirely new, original technique as 2014's Unfriended kinda did the same, but it certainly achieved a better result.


  1. I'm glad you liked this too! It really was a huge surprise for me.

  2. I really liked this one too! Yeah that opening was really heartbreaking :/ That film had so much heart and it was very well done

  3. Great review. This one really surprised me as well. I'm a fan of both Unfriended movies, but Searching captured how someone can best utilize that on-screen narrative device.