Critics Consensus

Searching's timely premise and original execution are further bolstered by well-rounded characters brought to life by a talented cast.



Total Count: 241


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,371
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Movie Info

After David Kim (John Cho)'s 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter's laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter's digital footprints before she disappears forever.


John Cho
as David Kim
Debra Messing
as Detective Rosemary Vick
Sara Sohn
as Nam 'Pamela' Kim

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Critic Reviews for Searching

All Critics (241) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (221) | Rotten (20)

Audience Reviews for Searching

  • Jun 19, 2019
    Searching is an intense and well-crafted found-footage crime thriller starring John Cho and Debra Messing. When his 16-year old daughter goes missing David Kim starts his own investigation to help the police by searching through all her online accounts and social networks, and is shocked to discover that he didn't really know his daughter. Both Cho and Messing give strong performances and do a good job playing to the found footage medium. And the director does an impressive job at keeping the film moving and at using a variety of different apps and programs (Facebook, YouTube, Google Maps, etc.). However, there are times that the film pushes the bounds of believability and stretches a bit to have the entire story unfold through electronic media. Yet despite a few weaknesses, Searching is remarkably compelling.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 07, 2019
    Taking the microgenre within the found footage genre of the all-on-your-computer-screen genre (I guess it's a thing?), Searching expands from the formula in Unfriended. Similar to how other movies expanded from Blair Witch Project though, there is an odd subtext here. For example, Blair Witch Project altogether made sense as a "found" footage movie, whereas later movies of the type raise the question of "who found this and who edited this altogether?" Searching has a similar oddity. Unfriended was real time and straight on, Searching uses the format more to tell its story in a unique way. We are not stuck to one computer, and even on one computer the camera will still pan around the screen. There are montages, timejumps, and cuts across different machines. It threw me off at first, and made me wonder why this format was even necessary if they weren't going to stick to it. However, since so much of this story takes place in the internet, I can accept its format. I mention this right off the bat because a lot of critics have praised this films format, and I really can't as much, since it feels like they cheated with it a bit to me. However, the elements within the format work well enough that I can forgive it. Watching him use the computer and all the steps he goes through are effective. It feels extremely genuine down to all the weird little details, like using a string of "forgot password" chains to get into his daughters Facebook and find out more about her friends. It's little details like that which we don't necessarily need, but make the film more real, and watchin his whole process is strangely hypnotic and engaging. The overall reaction of his daughter's disappearance is all too real as well, with media reactions running the gamut and blog think-pieces we see brief headlines for on the side. These little details give an air of realism to the whole thing. As for the actual plot itself, it ultimately works fine. One thing I did appreciate is that the red herrings given are more than just detours, they add character depth. However, the ultimate reveal doesn't feel that shocking. It's fine, it works, but that's it and the movie ultimately goes out without much of a bang.
    Michael M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 07, 2019
    Peter B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 06, 2019
    Interesting concept, that was fun and annoying. I liked the choice in Cho for the lead, he is a gifted actor who never receives the quality he deserves. The film is bogged down in the storyline and that twist comes off as a typical and very expected story beat. I wanted to enjoy the film, but the style was a little too much for me. I hope Hollywood doesn't flood the cinema with copy versions seeing that this film was successful at the box office. I enjoyed the film and it is rewarding, but I'm not into a happy ending that robs the film of the emotinal journey. 05/01/2019.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer

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