Searching (2018)

Movie Info

Movie Info

Aneesh Chaganty
Run Time
1 hour and 42 minutes

VP Content Ratings

Sex & Nudity
Star Rating
★★★★4 out of 5

Relevant Quotes

For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.

Ezekiel 34:11
So he told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?

Luke 15:3
David frantically searches all the Internet accounts of his daughter and of the family for clues about his missing daughter. (c) Sony Pictures

First-time feature director Aneesh Chaganty keeps us leaning forward in our seats to learn what has happened to the missing teen-aged Margot (Michelle La), whose plight is told entirely via computer screens. In just a few minutes the story of her relationship to her father and her deceased mother is revealed so movingly via their stored pictures and videos that our feelings for them are quickly aroused.

When her father David (John Cho) wakes up in the morning and she is not home, he sees that when she had tried contacting him in the wee hours of the night, he had been sleeping too soundly to hear his phone. He starts calling around to her friends and leaves some stern messages in her voice mail when he tries to contact her. He is even more upset when he learns from her professional piano teacher that not only is Margot not there, but that Margot had cancelled her lessons six months ago—and neither told him nor returned the hundred-dollar bills laid out each week for the fee.

David contacts the police, and soon is talking with Detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing). He becomes more upset and puzzled as he works his way through Margot’s various Internet accounts and talks with her contacts. He learns that many of them were not really friends. As news of the search for Margot, starting from her last known whereabouts—a public park—spreads, her disappearance becomes a big regional TV story. On Twitter, using the hashtag #FindMargot, some of her contacts suddenly claim more closeness to her than they had said before, apparently wanting to become part of the story. The haters always lurking around blame David post messages labeled #DadDidIt.

What has happened to the missing Margot? (c) Sony Pictures

No trace at first of Margot, Det. Vick giving regular reports to David and the media. She assures him that as a parent she understands his anxiety and pledges to do everything possible. The missing piano lesson money, amounting to over $2000, adds a sinister note—what was Margot doing with such a large amount of money. Det. Vick has the park area divided into zones, with volunteers, among whom is David, carefully searching for any sign of the missing girl. And then they find the car she had been driving, submerged in a pond in the park.

This is a fascinating thriller, told in a fascinating way—through small screens of laptop exchanges, TV images, an iPhone FaceTime chats, YouTube family videos, Twitters, emails, and security camera clips. Cumulatively they reveal the great love and comradery of the family. Music from a clip of Margot playing the piano is used as part of the soundtrack, adding to the haunting effect of the film. By his constant searching of the Internet David is like the Biblical shepherd searching for his lost sheep, but will he be able to rejoice at the end of the search? And perhaps too it might be good, in the light of all the acclaim being given Rich Crazy Asians for its 99% Asian cast, to point out that David and Margot are also of Asian descent. Indeed, it is good seeing the co-star (John Cho) of the funny Harold and Kumar series continue to make it in Hollywood.

This review, with a set of questions, will be in the September issue of VP. If you have found these reviews helpful, please support this ministry by subscribing or by purchasing a single issue. Past issues of VP are available back to 2012, all of which are available to annual subscribers.

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