Searching for Sugar Man (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Searching for Sugar Man (2012)



Critic Consensus: A fascinating portrait of a forgotten musical pioneer, Searching for Sugar Man is by turns informative and mysterious.

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Searching for Sugar Man tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest '70s rock icon who never was. Discovered in a Detroit bar in the late '60s by two celebrated producers struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics, they recorded an album which they believed would secure his reputation as the greatest recording artist of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, he became a phenomenon. The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation leads them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez. -- (C) Sony Pictures Classics

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Critic Reviews for Searching for Sugar Man

All Critics (121) | Top Critics (36)

At 85 minutes, it's a tight, sharp achievement, yet one of the things I love about it is simple: It moves to a relaxed rhythm, in sync with its slightly otherworldly subject.

January 7, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

The search for a long-lost pop icon has an unexpected payoff.

September 21, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

[A] moving, lyrical account ...

September 17, 2012 | Full Review…
New Yorker
Top Critic

It starts as a bittersweet parable about the cruelty of commerce, but the wonder of "Searching for Sugar Man" will not soon slip away.

September 13, 2012 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Director Malik Bendjelloul's engaging, cleverly structured documentary about the legendary folk singer Rodriguez is shaped like a mystery.

September 13, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Miami Herald
Top Critic

You watch "Searching for Sugar Man" at first fascinated by the mystery - what happened to Rodriguez? Where did he go? Then you become infuriated by its revelations of financial injustice.

August 23, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Searching for Sugar Man


A surprising and extremely moving documentary that begins as a fascinating mystery and then grows to become a revealing true story about a star who never was but who ironically became a major idol in South Africa - influencing a whole generation without even knowing about it.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


A riveting, incredible documentary about the talented musician Rodriguez and how, after two hit albums in the 1970's, disappeared seemingly into thin air. After two of his biggest fans decide to attempt to track him down even though rumors persist that he's dead, they stumble upon more parts to their hero's amazing true story. This is a story that is almost too special to believe it is true, but the film strikes a genuine tone that is as interested as the viewer to get to the bottom of this mysterious man. Without revealing too much, this is one of the best documentaries made in quite some time, close to perfect. A must-see for any music fan or avid follower of documentaries.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Maybe a must watch for the hardcore fans of Sixto Rodriguez, but to me (never heard the guy's name before; gave it a shot simply because the documentary synopsis had a mystic touch to it), it's as watchable as skipable. The first half is quite interesting, but then it (understandably) gets repetitive. Might have liked it better had it being cut to the chase ;-)

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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