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: 233


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,111
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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.

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

News & Interviews for Searching

Critic Reviews for Searching

All Critics (233) | Top Critics (32)

  • It's done with few words but it's unexpectedly touching, fulfilling the film's key promise - that it's going to make you care about these people, despite the secondhand nature of its delivery system.

    Sep 14, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Searching is a taut, effectively paced mystery-thriller with a powerful emotional component.

    Sep 1, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Some nice moves but as shallow as YouTube celebrity.

    Aug 31, 2018 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • For most of its running time, Searching refreshes our screens. Smiley face.

    Aug 31, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Cho, Messing, and La are excellent actors who are offered almost nothing to work with.

    Aug 31, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The suspense is satisfactory; the pace is well-sustained. What really clicks, though, is the message: We leave digital bread crumbs everywhere we go, and if our secrets are not safe, neither are we.

    Aug 30, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Searching

  • 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
  • Dec 10, 2018
    Be warned: the opening moments of co-writer and director Aneesh Chaganty's Searching is comparable to the opening of Disney and Pixar's UP and if you haven't seen UP you should probably do that, but if you have you'll understand the monumental comparison this is and what it undoubtedly implies in terms of the powerful nature this movie sets itself up to deliver right out of the gate. In this opening montage Chaganty along with co-writer Sev Ohanian as well as their editors, Nick Johnson and Will Merrick, swiftly establish who our characters are and where they've come from so that the viewer is keenly aware of the point each character is at in their lives as well as providing an equal balance of clues and intrigue as to what headspace these characters might be wading through as the film then delves into the current predicament the movie will chronicle. Searching is ultimately about relationships, the toll that grief, sorrow, and shame can take on certain dynamics as well as how different people deal with and react to such emotions. Moreover, Searching filters this exploration of dealing in such emotions through the guise of the ever-evolving technology of our modern world; commenting on the highs and lows of documenting our every move. Naturally, it's nice to be able to capture so much of our everyday lives and share achievements and moments with those we both count as friends and those we'd just kind of like to show-off in front of, but there's also that drawback of constantly having something to post or log in the simple fact that some memories are best forgotten while others we may eventually prefer to not be reminded of. Of course, Facebook hardly lets one forget anything these days and thus is the genius of Chaganty's film as it places the audience firmly within the perspective of John Cho's David Kim not through who he is or the circumstances of his life necessarily, but through how he conducts himself online and how his documentation of life events is likely akin to any given audience members. In the aforementioned opening montage, we see David go through the joys of fatherhood, the love of a genuine marriage, and the heartbreak of a tragic loss all through the (Microsoft) window(s) frame of social media, Skype, and of other means of chronicling our day to day integrate themselves as such painting a more and more fully realized picture by the time we're up to present day. This technique is efficient in establishing a set of characters and circumstances for which we become invested, that we care about, that we're curious about, and ultimately somewhat concerned about even before the main narrative kicks in all due solely to this opening montage that hooks us line and sinker. In short, it's a prime example of expert craftsmanship. read the whole review at
    Philip P Super Reviewer

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