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Searching for Sugar Man

8/10
Documentary . Music . Biography
 

Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez. The film won Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards.

 
Actors: Dennis Coffey , Rodriguez , Stephen Segerman , Mike Theodore , Malik Bendjelloul , Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman , Dan DiMaggio
Directors: Malik Bendjelloul
Country: SWEDEN , UK , FINLAND
Release: 2012-07-26
More Info:
  • Mike Scott

    All music docs are not created equal. Yes, some are formulaic. But some are beautiful, some are singular, some are marvels of storytelling. And some, like Searching for Sugar Man, are all three.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Joe Williams

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

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    The information they eventually dislodge about Rodriguez suggests a secular saint, a deeply good man, whose music is the expression of a blessed inner being. I hope you're able to see this film. You deserve to. And yes, it exists because we need for it to.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Peter Hartlaub

    "Searching" has emotional valleys and zeniths, and gasp-inducing turns, as old friends, fans and Rodriguez's grown daughters are interviewed.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    A musical detective story, this enthralling documentary focuses on a little-known American musician whose haunting voice and poetic lyrics were essentially unknown in his own country, but had a massive impact across the globe.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    Though unabashedly manipulative in its storytelling and structure, Searching For Sugar Man ultimately earns its happy ending and buzzy, crowd-pleasing populist appeal by alchemizing trembling inner-city pain into transcendent international beauty.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Betsy Sharkey

    The truth-is-stranger-than-fiction saga has been a hit on the festival circuit, winning top documentary prizes at Sundance for Sweden's Bendjelloul. What sets Searching for Sugar Man apart, though, is the way in which the filmmaker preserves a sense of mystery in the telling.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    Intentionally or not, Searching for Sugar Man catches all that - the fleeting moments of triumph and the years of endurance, the accumulation of family and the unquenched dreams - and doesn't presume to sew it all up for us.

    NPR Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Rodriguez' inner peace wins us over. He seems to have enjoyed recording music, fathering kids, cleaning houses, playing sold-out gigs and simply strumming a guitar in his kitchen. Searching for Sugar Man reminds us that a wise man knows lasting riches are never the result of record sales.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    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.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    This is a real-life fairy tale with a remarkably happy ending.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    For a quarter of a century -- unbeknownst to most Americans, including Rodriguez's original producers -- the singer landed a massive following in the country where his humanitarian outlook provided an escape for many disgruntled youth struggling under apartheid, elevating him to the stature of a "South African Elvis."

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    Malik Bendjelloul really knows how to spin a yarn.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Rodriguez's story is almost inconceivable in an obsessively magnified, heavily hyped Internet era. Which makes it all the more important to be shared. Listen, be moved, and pass it on.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    A hugely appealing documentary about fans, faith and an enigmatic Age of Aquarius musician who burned bright and hopeful before disappearing.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Anna Smith

    Music fans will love this indie documentary. Try to avoid Googling him before you watch, though.

    Empire Full Review
  • Matt Glasby

    The tale is better than the telling – and the soundtrack's better still – but music this monumental demands its moment. Now go and buy the album.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    This documentary does boast some bowl-you-over reveals best experienced blind.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    On one level, Searching for Sugar Man is a testament to how music - or painting or literature or any form of art - can take on a life far greater than its creator intended when it happens to connect with the right people at the right time.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Brad Wheeler

    A pleasing fix, Searching for Sugar Man is a lost-and-found film about pursuits – one of them abandoned, and one not.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Michelle Orange

    Sugar Man is most interesting when it touches on the conditions that combined to draw a cult hero out of some decent music and a generously enabled, imagination-firing mystique.

    Movieline Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    Director Malik Bendjelloul expertly paces this strange and moving film, half mystery and half meditation on art, fame, the music biz and the definition of a meaningful life.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    A fresh and unexpected documentary that plays like a nail-biting mystery and a ticket to ride the whirlwind where art and commerce do battle.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Mark Holcomb

    Fluid, open-ended documentaries that demand more of an audience than foregone assent or fleeting bouts of passive outrage are rare these days, which is what makes Malik Bendjelloul's Searching for Sugar Man such a gift.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Dennis Harvey

    A winning musical detective story about a failed, forgotten early '70s rocker.

    Variety Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The yarn is too irresistible: We're fed plenty of sugar in this authorized fairy tale, but are left hungry for beef.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Mark Jenkins

    The movie is neatly structured, and Rodriguez turns out to be an interesting guy. He's worth getting to know, even if his music isn't.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    Despite crafting a consistently engaging film, the director doesn't present the full scope of Sixto Rodriguez's life.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    This movie might itself make a modest contribution to rewriting the history of white South Africa.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    So why is this songwriter, so articulate on vinyl, so vague and spacey in current-day interviews? Something happened here, deeper than an aborted quest for fame, and the documentary hasn't gotten to it.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Ray Greene

    Like "Anvil," this is a crowd-pleasing triumph of the spirit, framed around a story so bizarre it sounds like an urban legend.

    Boxoffice Magazine Full Review
  • Justin Lowe

    While all the interview subjects are enthusiastic, the overall lack of familiarity with Rodriquez's personal background and career collapse begin to drag.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
Add Soundtrack
  • 13. This Is Not a Song, Its an Outburst (Or, The Establishment Blues) Performer: Rodriguez Stream Music Online
  • 17. This Is Not a Song, It's an Outburst (Or, The Establishment Blues) Performer: Rodriguez Stream Music Online

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  • 1970s

  • mayor

  • south africa

  • musician

  • icon

  • music business

  • election

  • detroit

  • reading

  • recording

  • city council

  • music tour

  • stepfather stepson relationship

  • greatest moment in one's life

  • reference to california

  • scratching a recording

  • slow motion scene

  • spotlight

  • bass guitar

  • reunion

  • cd player

  • missing person's picture on a milk carton

  • webpage

  • building demolition

  • audience

  • demo recording

  • what happened to epilogue

  • bootlegging

  • reference to woodstock

  • bare chested male

  • bricklayer

  • modesty

  • privacy

  • lightning

  • thunder

  • music store

  • pain

  • year 1973

  • paranoia

  • reference to james dean

  • losing a job

  • christmas

  • drug use

  • drugs

  • anti establishment

  • rebel

  • anthem

  • revolution

  • reference to nazi germany

  • boycott

  • military state

  • isolation

  • music producer

  • afrikaans

  • fog

  • music history

  • cd

  • detective

  • music industry

  • autograph

  • tattoo

  • limousine

  • airport

  • airplane

  • home movie

  • reporter

  • rehearsal

  • contract

  • amsterdam netherlands

  • london england

  • father daughter relationship

  • sussex records

  • a&m records

  • spanish

  • reference to diego rivera

  • blue collar

  • prejudice

  • gay slur

  • carpentry

  • paparazzi

  • artist

  • poet

  • protest

  • 1980s

  • dearborn michigan

  • opening a window

  • happiness

  • memory

  • reference to jesus christ

  • reference to god

  • year 1998

  • year 1997

  • year 1996

  • american

  • year 1971

  • year 1955

  • year 1968

  • year 1970

  • snowing

  • overhead shot

  • gold record

  • grandfather grandson relationship

  • archive footage

  • watching tv

  • urban setting

  • inner city

  • fear

  • politics

  • listening to music

  • photograph

  • bar

  • sadness

  • disappearance

  • peace sign

  • fame

  • newspaper headline

  • newspaper

  • reference to sherlock holmes

  • husband wife relationship

  • outcast

  • microphone

  • snow

  • guitarist

  • guitar

  • reference to marvin gaye

  • reference to mowtown

  • telephone call

  • telephone

  • lyrics

  • dark glasses

  • sunglasses

  • hollywood california

  • los angeles california

  • interviewer

  • interview

  • money

  • working class

  • reference to the rolling stones

  • reference to the doors the band

  • reference to jimi hendrix

  • drifter

  • reference to bob dylan

  • nickname

  • lp recording

  • subjective camera

  • fan the person

  • songwriter

  • song

  • singing

  • epilogue

  • rock 'n' roll

  • singing idol

  • capetown south africa

  • big ben london

  • music censorship

  • scratched record

  • band

  • mexican american

  • poverty

  • reference to elvis presley

  • racism

  • presumed dead

  • prophet

  • hollywood sign

  • reference to madonna

  • reference to stevie wonder

  • oppression

  • music production

  • censorship

  • street demonstration

  • apartheid

  • construction worker

  • search

  • recording artist

  • failed artist

  • comeback

  • singer songwriter

  • singer

  • detroit michigan

  • urban legend

  • concert

  • folk singer

1