Movie Reviews

Tv/streaming, great movies, chaz's journal, contributors, black writers week.

searching movie review

Now streaming on:

We’ve seen this gimmick before: the high-wire act of setting a movie entirely within the confines of electronic devices, allowing us to feel as if we’re logging in, clicking and typing along with the characters in real time. The 2015 horror flick “ Unfriended ,” for example, pulled off this feat in lively, detailed and eventually grisly ways; before that, the 2014 Elijah Wood thriller “ Open Windows ” tried this trick with less success. 

Structuring a film this way is impressive as an ambitious screenwriting exercise, if nothing else. It also gives filmmakers the opportunity to embrace technology while simultaneously making a point about the way it transfixes us and turns us into zombies. The sensation allows us to identify with these characters as they make the same kinds of decisions we would and multitask with a variety of windows and websites open at the same time. We are them and they are us and everyone needs to put down the phone or close up the laptop and go for a walk in the outside world—or at least set our devices to airplane mode and turn the ringer off, if only for a little while.

With “Searching,” director Aneesh Chaganty and his co-writer, Sev Ohanian adhere to their central conceit in ways that are consistently clever, yet ultimately wander a bit astray. But what sets their film apart from others of its ilk is its dramatic underpinning. “Searching”—a title that has double meaning—follows a panicked father’s online moves as he tries to track down his missing teenage daughter. It aims for and earns genuine emotion rather than cheap thrills.

The ever-versatile John Cho shows great range and takes us on an intimate, gripping journey as David Kim, a widower raising his 16-year-old daughter, Margot ( Michelle La , in her first major role), in suburban San Jose, Calif. In sort of a high-tech version of the devastating, wordless opening of “ Up ,” we see David and his wife Pamela ( Sara Sohn ) raising Margot over the years through a series of photos, videos and calendar entries. (In a nice touch, fonts and graphics change as technology evolves and improves.) “Searching” smoothly and efficiently depicts the passage of time, including Pamela's cancer battle. The film handles the tragedy of her passing with quiet poignancy.

In the present day, David and Margot live busy lives between work and school, and they mostly communicate through text messages and FaceTime calls. But one night, the usually conscientious Margot fails to come home after a study group session, something David doesn’t realize until well into the next day. And here’s where the intricacies of the technology have such an impact: We can see all those unanswered text messages from him just sitting there, ominously, lined up in a long, green column. We can see the time stamp of the last phone call Margot made to him in the middle of the night. We can feel David’s fear growing because ours is, too.

“Searching” takes a series of twists and turns from here as David contacts police and a full-blown effort begins to find Margot. There’s a lot you’re going to want to experience on your own, so I hesitate to describe too much more. But over and over again, Chaganty and Ohanian find innovative avenues into the laptop setting they’ve established, from David working backward to determine Margot’s locked social media passwords to the spreadsheet he creates to interrogate her friends about her whereabouts. Through it all, he remains methodical, but his rising anxiety is inescapable. Cho spends a lot of time in medium shot or close-up in a split screen with whatever he’s working on, so there’s nowhere for him to hide. We see everything his character is feeling, as he’s feeling it. It’s a startling experience, as if we’re spying on him at his most vulnerable.

The arrival of a determined Debra Messing as the police detective investigating Margot’s disappearance changes the film’s energy, providing a ray of hope. (David naturally looks up her character, Det. Rosemary Vick, on Google and Facebook the first time she calls him, seeking traces of trustworthiness.) But the more they uncover together, from Margot’s secret Tumblr posts to the last place her car was seen, the more David realizes he didn’t really know his only child. It’s the sad paradox of technology, a tool that’s meant to bring people closer together, that it also can foster such a divide. Not the most novel concept, perhaps, but one that “Searching” explores in smart, slickly paced ways.

But as the film pulses toward its conclusion, it introduces images and information that deviate from the premise that we’re seeing everything from David’s perspective. A narrative omniscience occurs that fills in some holes, but it also results in a loss of tautness and focus. (I do appreciate that the filmmakers got the geography of the Bay Area correct, though, as well as the mic flags of the local TV stations breathlessly covering every development of the search effort.) ‘Til the end, though, we’re deeply invested in these well-drawn characters, and whether they’ll find their happy ending both online and IRL.

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire is a longtime film critic who has written for since 2013. Before that, she was the film critic for The Associated Press for nearly 15 years and co-hosted the public television series "Ebert Presents At the Movies" opposite Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, with Roger Ebert serving as managing editor. Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here .

Now playing

searching movie review

The Vourdalak

Tomris laffly.

searching movie review

Marya E. Gates

searching movie review

Brian Tallerico

searching movie review

Simon Abrams

searching movie review

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F

searching movie review

Trigger Warning

Robert daniels, film credits.

Searching movie poster

Searching (2018)

Rated PG-13 for thematic content, some drug and sexual references, and for language.

102 minutes

John Cho as David Kim

Debra Messing as Detective Rosemary Vick

Joseph Lee as Peter

Michelle La as Margot

  • Aneesh Chaganty
  • Sev Ohanian


  • Juan Sebastian Baron

Cinematographer (director of virtual photography)

  • Nicholas D. Johnson
  • Will Merrick
  • Torin Borrowdale

Latest blog posts

searching movie review

High Noon: Greg Kwedar and Monique Walton On Sing Sing

searching movie review

Netflix’s "Receiver" Should Work for NFL Fans Despite a Predictable Playbook

searching movie review

Hulu's “UnPrisoned” Takes Bigger Swings In Its Self-Assured Second Season

searching movie review

Anchorman Wouldn’t Have Been Nearly as Great Without Christina Applegate


Supported by

Review: In ‘Searching,’ a Clever Conceit and John Cho as Leading Man

  • Share full article

‘Searching’ | Anatomy of a Scene

Aneesh chaganty narrates a sequence from his film..

“Hi. My name is Aneesh Chaganty. I’m the co-writer and director of ‘Searching.’” “Hey, Margo. Dad again.” “So the scene that you’re watching right now takes place early in the film. The film is about a dad whose daughter goes missing, and he tries to look for clues to find her. The entire film takes place on the tech devices that we use everyday to communicate. That’s laptops, cell phones, desktop computers. Basically every single tool that we use every day is a tool that we use to tell the story. In this moment right now he is realizing that his daughter might actually be in piano classes that she goes to every Friday. So he’s going to try and find out how to reach her there. The trick to kind of tackling this movie was basically by not making it boring. That was a huge thing that we talked about all the time. Like how do we elevate this concept? How do we make it feel like a capital M movie and not just a gimmick of a film that was lasting for 90 minutes? So from day one, in order to solve that we basically realized that what we should be doing is by using every single cinematic trick that we feel like we’ve learned, and that has been developed over the last 100 years, whether that’s a camera push in, or a dolly, or a lens flare, or just a narrative trick. If it was figured out before us, let’s apply it to this screen. And we figured if we take these small, mundane devices that we use everyday to communicate, and apply all these cinematic tricks to it, we will be making something, hopefully, that feels like something that you’ve never seen before. So this particular moment David is finding out that his daughter not only has not been going to piano classes the last few weeks, but actually canceled her classes months ago. And it’s the beginning of him realizing that his daughter is actually not at all the person that he thought she was. So he’s looking at these messages right now. We’re kind of panning back and forth. We’re punching in. And we’re kind of mixing live action footage and animated footage in a way that feels hopefully seamless for an audience, to hopefully give them a very, very cinematic experience on a platform that I don’t think any of us, including us, the writers and the filmmakers, originally thought was possible. But it’s why we’ve made this movie, because when we realized we could pull it off, we thought, hey, wouldn’t it be a really, really cool experience for an audience if we did?”

Video player loading

By Aisha Harris

  • Aug. 23, 2018

At its core, “Searching” is like any number of thrillers about tracking down a missing person: John Cho plays David Kim, a single father whose teenage daughter Margot (Michelle La) doesn’t come home one night or make it to school the following morning. Distraught, David combs through the trail of her online presence and passes along findings to Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing), the lead detective on the case. Days go by and the clues don’t turn up Margot, but they are revealing: David learns he does not know as much about her as he once thought. He takes things into his own hands, suspicious of those around him and increasingly unsatisfied with Vick’s investigation.

searching movie review

What sets Aneesh Chaganty’s feature debut apart is its meticulously constructed storytelling device, which calls to mind “Unfriended (2014),” the horror film about a group of teenagers whose video chat is interrupted by the presence of an online phantom, and its sequel “Unfriended: Dark Web,” released earlier this summer. Every shot of “Searching” plays out on a screen — a computer, a phone, through the lens of a clandestinely placed camera.

It mostly works: It unveils a clever approach to character building, as during the opening montage of family photos, home videos and emails providing intimate details about the Kim family over several years. Occasionally, the effort to commit fully to the conceit feels strained or shows its limitations, as when a grainy camera recording from a distance undercuts the intensity of a particularly dramatic confrontation.

Throughout, David’s emotional journey feels wholly tangible — many of Mr. Cho’s scenes involve him interacting with other actors on FaceTime, yet he deeply inhabits his character’s distress and still-unprocessed grief over a different kind of loss chronicled in the film’s first few minutes. While a somewhat silly reveal in the final act feels ripped from a “Law & Order” episode, the combination of clever concept reflecting the prevalence of screens in everyday life, and the pleasure of watching a typically underused Mr. Cho take on a meaty lead role make “Searching” a satisfying psychological thriller.

Rated PG-13 for suggestive language and drug references involving teenagers. Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes.

Searching Review

Not just a gimmick movie..

Searching Review - IGN Image

Searching shows how disconnected we really are as a species from one another, by telling this story through the devices and websites that are supposed to bring us together. The story shows us the humanity of the absolute now, from the texts and IMs we type out then delete and rewrite, to the things we share online that are supposed to show us “living our best life,” but may be really hiding who we truly are, for better or for worse. If you keep an open mind about the “gimmicky” nature of this movie, you just may have said mind blown.

Official IGN Review

More Reviews by Brian Gallagher

Ign recommends.

The Boys: New Episode Review

Log in or sign up for Rotten Tomatoes

Trouble logging in?

By continuing, you agree to the Privacy Policy and the Terms and Policies , and to receive email from the Fandango Media Brands .

By creating an account, you agree to the Privacy Policy and the Terms and Policies , and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and to receive email from the Fandango Media Brands .

By creating an account, you agree to the Privacy Policy and the Terms and Policies , and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes.

Email not verified

Let's keep in touch.

Rotten Tomatoes Newsletter

Sign up for the Rotten Tomatoes newsletter to get weekly updates on:

  • Upcoming Movies and TV shows
  • Rotten Tomatoes Podcast
  • Media News + More

By clicking "Sign Me Up," you are agreeing to receive occasional emails and communications from Fandango Media (Fandango, Vudu, and Rotten Tomatoes) and consenting to Fandango's Privacy Policy and Terms and Policies . Please allow 10 business days for your account to reflect your preferences.

OK, got it!

  • What's the Tomatometer®?
  • Login/signup

searching movie review

Movies in theaters

  • Opening this week
  • Top box office
  • Coming soon to theaters
  • Certified fresh movies

Movies at home

  • Fandango at Home
  • Prime Video
  • Most popular streaming movies
  • What to Watch New

Certified fresh picks

  • 74% MaXXXine Link to MaXXXine
  • 91% Kill Link to Kill
  • 85% Remembering Gene Wilder Link to Remembering Gene Wilder

New TV Tonight

  • 95% Sunny: Season 1
  • -- Vikings: Valhalla: Season 3
  • -- Sausage Party: Foodtopia: Season 1
  • -- The Serpent Queen: Season 2
  • -- Me: Season 1
  • -- The Bachelorette: Season 21
  • -- Mastermind: To Think Like a Killer: Season 1
  • -- Melissa Etheridge: I'm Not Broken: Season 1
  • -- All American: Homecoming: Season 3

Most Popular TV on RT

  • 82% Star Wars: The Acolyte: Season 1
  • 100% Supacell: Season 1
  • 90% The Bear: Season 3
  • 90% House of the Dragon: Season 2
  • 93% The Boys: Season 4
  • 76% Presumed Innocent: Season 1
  • 93% My Lady Jane: Season 1
  • 82% Dark Matter: Season 1
  • -- The Mole: Season 2
  • Best TV Shows
  • Most Popular TV
  • TV & Streaming News

Certified fresh pick

  • 95% We Are Lady Parts: Season 2 Link to We Are Lady Parts: Season 2
  • All-Time Lists
  • Binge Guide
  • Comics on TV
  • Five Favorite Films
  • Video Interviews
  • Weekend Box Office
  • Weekly Ketchup
  • What to Watch

Every Shrek Movie, Ranked by Tomatometer

100 Best Movies on Tubi (July 2024)

What to Watch: In Theaters and On Streaming

‘Seen on the Screen’ Podcast: A Celebration of Universal Stories 

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

  • Trending on RT
  • Shark Movies
  • Mission Impossible 8
  • A24 Horror Movies

Searching Reviews

searching movie review

Going against the Heightened Realism 101 rulebook in films of this kind, Chaganty underlines his storytelling with a terrific score and appropriate rhythm-heavy editing.

Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5 | Jul 9, 2024

searching movie review

The writing is amazing, the use of technology is great, and it doesn't feel cheesy as it has in past films.

Full Review | Jul 8, 2024

Searching is an unnerving and touching movie that goes well beyond the gimmick of being told through a computer screen.

Full Review | Feb 1, 2024

searching movie review

A tremendously unique style of filmmaking elevates an almost seamlessly written mystery, containing constant twists and puzzling clues that leave the audience captivated throughout the entire runtime.

Full Review | Original Score: A | Jul 24, 2023

If you like suspense movies, innovation, and John Cho you do not want to miss the movie.

Full Review | Original Score: 10/10 | Jan 17, 2023

searching movie review

A mystery that’s far meatier than its virtual framing would suggest.

Full Review | Sep 14, 2022

searching movie review

It’s a riveting thriller with interesting things to say about the online lives we live. It’s also another showcase for John Cho who carries the film through his character’s intensifying stages of emotion and desperation.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5 | Aug 25, 2022

searching movie review

Chaganty's unsubtle approach broadcasts every clue, relying on a tired formula where every detail onscreen proves significant in a dull way. Attentive viewers will see the twists coming.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4 | Mar 11, 2022

searching movie review

Here's hoping future films in this new mode of storytelling take note from what Searching does so well and avoid what doesn't exactly mesh.

Full Review | Feb 11, 2022

searching movie review

Episode 6: Bourbon and Smoke

Full Review | Original Score: 50/100 | Aug 28, 2021

searching movie review

This is screenwriting at its finest. The film just gives you one emotional punch after the next the suspense just builds and builds as more details about the mystery are revealed.

Full Review | Original Score: 9.5/10 | Aug 17, 2021

searching movie review

Searching is a clarion call for any parent of a teen...

Full Review | Aug 13, 2021

searching movie review

It's a little too conventional in its climax and conclusion but John Cho's terrific performance and some genuine thrills elevate the story past its visual gimmick.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5 | Mar 4, 2021

searching movie review

Ultimately, it's among the very best of this genre of computer screen thrillers, and I'll leave it up to you to decide how much you think that means.

Full Review | Feb 9, 2021

searching movie review

David Kim discovers that his 16-year-old daughter Margot didn't come home after a study session, and he searches her laptop and social media to find her.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5 | Feb 2, 2021

searching movie review

A concept that easily could have come across as cheap and tacky instead elevates Searching in ways that are exciting and surprisingly moving.

Full Review | Original Score: B+ | Jan 29, 2021

searching movie review

Sometimes, your expectations for a film can enrich your experience or cripple it. With Searching, I was thrown for a loop in the best way.

Full Review | Nov 10, 2020

searching movie review

Searching is both an immersive and ingenious experience and because it is Aneesh Chaganty's directorial debut, one could only hope that he's got even more creative ideas on the horizon.

Full Review | Oct 5, 2020

searching movie review

Searching is unlike any modern thriller I've seen, and actually knows how to do social media and the online world right, without being gimmicky.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/5 | Aug 3, 2020

searching movie review

What places Searching a cut above the average thrillers filling the multiplex every weekend is the resonance of the relationship between David and Margot.

Full Review | Jul 24, 2020

  • Entertainment /

The emotional thriller Searching proves good computer-screen movies aren’t a fluke

The producer of unfriended returns with a movie that proves there’s life left in this formula.

By Bryan Bishop

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

searching movie review

Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review was originally posted after the film’s premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it played under the title Search . It has been updated for the film’s wide theatrical release.

In 2015, the movie Unfriended landed in theaters , telling a conventional supernatural revenge story with an unconventional conceit: the entire film took place on the screen of one character’s laptop. That approach really shouldn’t have worked, but Unfriended was nevertheless a creepy, unsettling, low-budget success. When I spoke with producer Timur Bekmambetov at the time, he envisioned “screen movies” as an entire genre.

The filmmaker is taking his next big swing at the format with Searching, starring Star Trek ’s John Cho and Will & Grace ’s Debra Messing. It’s the story of a father who frantically tries to find his daughter when she goes missing — only this time, the film doesn’t just take place on a single laptop. It takes place on the screens of multiple computers, with an iPhone thrown into the mix for good measure. Once again, this is an idea that shouldn’t work. But Searching is a taut, surprisingly emotional ride. It doesn’t entirely stick the landing, but it’s proof the screen-movie concept isn’t just a one-off fluke.

What’s the genre?

Bekmambetov might have described it as “a screen movie” a couple of years ago, but now, Searching can just be considered a straight-up thriller.

What’s it about?

David Kim (Cho) is recently widowed, and he’s been having a hard time connecting with his teenage daughter Margot (Michelle La). One morning, David wakes up to find he’s missed several late-night FaceTime calls from Margot. As the day unfolds, he discovers she’s not at school, and never even came home the night before. Detective Rosemary Vick (Messing) is assigned to the case, and with her help, David begins digging through his daughter’s computer, her search history, and the live-streaming services he never knew she used. They initially suspect she might have simply run away, but as the evidence piles up, it seems likely that something sinister has happened to Margot.

What’s it really about?

Director Aneesh Chaganty, who co-wrote the script with producer Sev Ohanian, has a couple of themes on his mind with Searching . Writ large, it’s a movie about the way we deal with grief. David shut down emotionally in response to his wife's death, compartmentalizing his memories to the point of forgetting her birthday, and hiding any videos that might spark painful memories from his computer’s search results. While he thinks Margot has been doing okay, as he investigates, he slowly realizes she has been struggling more than he ever realized.

Searching also illustrates how we sometimes use online outlets and social networks to express feelings that would perhaps be better discussed in real life. Margot is comfortable talking about her mom to anonymous strangers on a video chat, but doesn’t want to bring up the issue with her own father, which pushes them further and further apart.

Is it good?

Searching is shockingly effective, not just in creating a sense of constant, palpable tension, but also in the way it pulls off authentic, effective emotional beats. The first five minutes of the film tell the entire backstory of the Kim family, opening with the mom’s computer (running Windows XP) as the family starts documenting Margot’s young life. Through video clips, glimpses of emails, and calendar schedules, we learn that in the ensuing years, Margot’s mother got cancer, fought it into remission, suffered a relapse, and finally succumbed just as Margot was about to start high school. It’s legitimately affecting. (Think the opening prologue of Pixar’s Up , only told through a computer screen.) By the time Searching catches up with the present, and the iMac the family uses at home, the movie has set up an emotional foundation that propels the rest of the film.

the fact that we’re watching an ersatz computer screen falls away completely

As a filmmaker, Chaganty knows a few things about merging technology with filmmaking. He shot an early Google Glass commercial called “Seeds,” and was responsible for some of the snarky ads for Google Photos . But here, he moves beyond those early experiments, and what was accomplished in previous computer screen projects like Unfriended or the Modern Family episode “Connection Lost.” Searching ’s rhythm and pacing stand out, from the way the camera punches in and moves around computer screens to the way it creatively adds new angles to the mix, while still adhering to its basic conceit. More often than not, the fact that we’re watching an ersatz computer screen falls away completely, leaving only the drama of David’s search. It feels impressively cinematic, which is no small feat, given the stylistic limitations. Cho also delivers a strong performance, capturing the denial, grief, and anger David experiences as the situation with his daughter becomes increasingly more dire.

The film does have its flaws. Messing’s performance seems out of sync with the rest of the actors at times, as if she’s playing scenes from a much more melodramatic TV show. (The script does give her character some of the clunkiest lines, so there’s only so much she can do.) And while Searching has several moments where it feels like things are wrapping up in a truly unexpected, yet emotionally satisfying way, the film unfortunately doesn’t know when to call it quits. It finally comes to a conclusion with an extended coda that really tests the audience’s suspension of disbelief, and while the movie ultimately delivers a final moment that some audiences will definitely be craving, the way it gets there is easily the weakest part of the film.

What should it be rated?

Searching through Facebook, creating Google Docs, and making FaceTime calls is pretty family-friendly. Let’s call this a PG, given the general subject matter.

How can I actually watch it?

After the world premiere screening at Sundance, Sony picked up the movie for a reported $5 million, and brought it to theaters for a wide release. It’s out on August 24th.

This is Sonos’ next flagship soundbar

Max might not be the one to watch after all, samsung’s galaxy ring could be the one ring to rule an ecosystem, samsung galaxy watch ultra hands-on: ultra déjà vu, no xbox, no problem.

Sponsor logo

More from this stream Sundance 2018: Reviews and news from the premier independent-film festival

Assassination nation is a vicious, cathartic horror film about misogyny, in hbo’s doc come inside my mind, robin williams bares it all, ari aster’s breakout horror hit hereditary is pants-wettingly scary, half the picture proves that #metoo alone won’t solve sexism in entertainment.

  • Search Please fill out this field.
  • Newsletters
  • Sweepstakes

Searching gives the psychological thriller a smart digital twist: EW review

searching movie review

Searching begins with the unmistakable metallic skronk of a dial-up modem: the first hint that what we’re about to see will unfold almost completely in the digital world. That’s a great hook for a movie, if not the easiest one to actually sustain. But first-time filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty (a former Google employee, appropriately) is a resourceful man, and a very clever one; he nearly aces his high-wire conceit to the end.

We meet David ( Star Trek ’s John Cho) almost entirely through his desktop: a happily married California dad whose impending widowhood is rendered through YouTube videos, Gmail, and iCal alerts within the first 15 minutes. His wife’s death brings a cone of silence between him and his teenage daughter, Margot (Michelle La); one night she says she’s staying late at study group, but the next day, she’s still not home. So with the help of a local police detective (Debra Messing), David becomes his own internet PI.

It’s a lot to carry a film where your costars are effectively zeros and ones, but Cho‘s sympathetic presence fills the screen(s); the way his eyebrows knit together like concerned caterpillars or pause for an unexpected laugh line feels like a call to Hollywood casting agents to give him more to do, soon. And if Chaganty can’t help overgilding his final twist, Searching ’s smart, nimble execution still thrills. B+

Related Articles

searching movie review

  • Cast & crew
  • User reviews


Metacritic reviews

  • 91 Original-Cin Kim Hughes Original-Cin Kim Hughes For a film where every single scene is rigidly contained within a screen — framed by an iPhone FaceTime chat, a laptop exchange, TV image, home movie or security camera surveillance — Searching has a surprising sense of momentum.
  • 90 Variety Peter Debruge Variety Peter Debruge Cutting to the emotional core of what social media says about us, the result is as much a time capsule of our relationship to (and reliance upon) modern technology as it is a cutting-edge digital thriller.
  • 86 The Verge Bryan Bishop The Verge Bryan Bishop Search is shockingly effective, not just in creating a sense of constant, palpable tension, but also in the way it pulls off authentic, effective emotional beats.
  • 83 IndieWire Kate Erbland IndieWire Kate Erbland Despite the specificity of its story and the manner in which its told, the issues at hand remain universal, including David’s struggle to connect with his child and the way paranoia can make even the best friends into the worst enemies.
  • 83 The Playlist Jordan Ruimy The Playlist Jordan Ruimy Chaganty and co-writer Sev Ohanian deliver wonders on both the technical and narrative ends of Search, but editors Will Merrick and Nick Johnson do an astounding job as well.
  • 80 The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy Impressively, first-time filmmaker and former Google commercials creator Aneesh Chaganty has also made a real movie, the story of a family that morphs into a crime drama that gradually ratchets up the tension as all good thrillers must, one that’s well constructed and acted as well as novel in its storytelling techniques.
  • 75 The Film Stage Dan Mecca The Film Stage Dan Mecca As the style begins to wear out its welcome, the promise of a resolution and nifty twist keep things nimble. Like a well-crafted paperback, Search never commits the cardinal sin of being boring.
  • 70 Screen Daily Tim Grierson Screen Daily Tim Grierson The movie’s arresting visual conceit has enough flexibility to sustain interest, even if the story’s twists and turns sometimes feel excessively fiendish.
  • 63 Slant Magazine Derek Smith Slant Magazine Derek Smith As nimble as Aneesh Chaganty is in presenting his main character's multi-faceted interaction with technology in the first hour, the film suddenly morphs into a generic and manipulative missing-person thriller.
  • 35 Film Journal International Daniel Eagan Film Journal International Daniel Eagan Searching is so smart about how we interact with computers that it's surprising how lame it is about moviemaking basics like characters and plot.
  • See all 34 reviews on
  • See all external reviews for Searching

More from this title

More to explore, recently viewed.

searching movie review


  1. Searching Movie Review: An Unpredictable and Original Thriller

    searching movie review

  2. Searching (2018) Film Review [Spoiler Free]

    searching movie review

  3. Searching movie review

    searching movie review

  4. Searching Movie Review

    searching movie review

  5. ‎Searching (2018) directed by Aneesh Chaganty • Reviews, film + cast

    searching movie review

  6. Searching movie review: One of the most innovative thrillers of the

    searching movie review


  1. Searching (2024) Movie Review Tamil

  2. Searching: Reactionary Review: If You Wanted a Found Footage Social Media Thriller... This is It

  3. Searching 2018 Review Telugu @Kittucinematalks

  4. Searching Movie Review in Tamil

  5. Searching

  6. Searching = One of the BEST MOVIES Of 2018


  1. Searching movie review & film summary (2018) | Roger Ebert

    A father tries to find his missing daughter through online clues in this thriller that uses electronic devices as its setting. The film explores the paradox of technology and the emotional distance it creates, but also introduces some narrative omniscience that weakens the tension.

  2. Searching (2018) | Rotten Tomatoes

    92% Tomatometer 263 Reviews 88% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings David Kim becomes desperate when his 16-year-old daughter Margot disappears and an immediate police investigation leads nowhere. He...

  3. Review: In ‘Searching,’ a Clever Conceit and John Cho as ...

    1h 42m. By Aisha Harris. Aug. 23, 2018. At its core, “Searching” is like any number of thrillers about tracking down a missing person: John Cho plays David Kim, a single father whose teenage...

  4. Searching (2018) - Searching (2018) - User Reviews - IMDb

    Whether it be social media, text logs or anything in-between, the film becomes a frantic search to find his missing daughter. The film itself is an odd hybrid of the Found Footage genre and of an actual narrative film.

  5. Searching Review - IGN

    Yes, the story has been told before - David Kim (John Cho) goes on a frantic quest to find his missing daughter Margot (Michelle La), with the help of a no-nonsense cop (Debra Messing).

  6. Searching - Movie Reviews | Rotten Tomatoes

    Read critics' and audience's opinions on Searching, a thriller about a father's search for his missing daughter through her laptop and social media. Find out the pros and cons of the film's style, plot, and performance.

  7. Searching proves that good computer-screen movies aren’t a fluke

    But Searching is a taut, surprisingly emotional ride. It doesn’t entirely stick the landing, but it’s proof the screen-movie concept isn’t just a one-off fluke.

  8. Searching review: A psychological thriller with a smart ...

    The desktop thriller stars John Cho as a concerned father trying to track down his missing teenage daughter.

  9. Searching - Metacritic

    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.

  10. Searching (2018) - Metacritic reviews - IMDb

    34 reviews · Provided by 91. Original-Cin Kim Hughes. For a film where every single scene is rigidly contained within a screen — framed by an iPhone FaceTime chat, a laptop exchange, TV image, home movie or security camera surveillance — Searching has a surprising sense of momentum. 90.