Synopsis: After his 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a desperate father breaks into her laptop to look for clues to find her.
Stars: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, Michelle La
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
Running Length: 102 minutes
TMMM Score: (8/10)
Review: My favorite movies are the ones that sneak up on you like you never expect them to. Searching was a movie that I missed several screenings of and usually these smaller movies are the ones that I wind up waiting until they are available on streaming to take a look at. However, the buzz on the film was so good I sought the film out and I’m glad I was able to see it in theaters. Though I think it will likely play even better at home (more on that later), Searching was one of the most surprisingly effective films I saw this past year.
A girl has gone missing and her father (John Cho, Grandma) must go through her computer and social media accounts for clues as to where she may be…and who she may be with. Through this, he learns some hard truths about his child and eventually realizes that he didn’t know his daughter at all. Now, with false leads and dead ends he must get creative with his methods or risk losing her forever.
Director Aneesh Chaganty’s timely movie definitely speaks to this day and age where children can lead a completely different life online their parents have no clue about. I’d say the film champions parents exercising restrictions and staying present with their children as far as the internet and social media are concerned. The movie takes several sobering turns that hit me in unexpectedly emotional ways even though at its core it’s a mystery with clues all over the place for the careful viewer to piece together long before the father does.
What might turn some people off from the movie is that it’s entirely “on screens”. That is, every image that you see is taken from a computer, smart phone, iPad, television, etc. Even if the filming method might seem strange to you, I urge you to give this one a chance. I think the way the screen is set up that watching it on your television at home might actually enhance the experience. When I saw Searching in theaters I made sure to sit close to the screen so it took up my entire field of view – you should try for the same effect.