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Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 117
Fresh: 111 | Rotten: 6

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

94

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 2

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

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 17,875

My Rating

Movie Info

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

Jan 22, 2013

$3.7M

Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on Searching for Sugar Man

May 14, 2014:
Malik Bendjelloul: 1977-2014
The Oscar-winning director of "Searching for Sugar Man" has died at the age of 36.
February 25, 2013:
RT's Oscar Picks 2013 - Results
We at Rotten Tomatoes freely admit we're not the world's greatest Oscar prognosticators. Still, we...

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All Critics (123) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (111) | Rotten (6) | DVD (1)

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 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

September 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[A] moving, lyrical account ...

September 17, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker | Comment (1)
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop 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 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Comment (1)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

September 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Comment (1)
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop 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 Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Comment (1)
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Intriguing docu about missing musician; some language, pot.

March 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

As a documentary, "Searching for Sugar Man" falls short, but as an enormously satisfying feel-good story it hits the mark.

January 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

You can still enjoy the film. I did, but it's nothing more than a fairy tale.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

[Rodriguez] is a highly unusual and fascinating human being, and Searching for Sugar Man is a very interesting look at his life, his music, and the strange, fickle nature of fame.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Bullz-Eye.com
Bullz-Eye.com

There's no arguing this is a remarkable story, and director Malik Bendjelloul tells it beautifully, creating a powerful sense of mystery and discovery even when we're tipped off to how the story ends.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A nimble and engaging documentary, less about a man than about a myth -- and about the experience of loving an under-loved artist.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: France24
France24

'Searching For Sugar Man' simply shouts out for celebration!

December 16, 2012 Full Review Source: About.com
About.com

"Searching for Sugar Man" is a valentine to every artist who feels like he toils away in obscurity, unsure of or unaware of the impact he might make on the world.

December 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

This story has an uplifting arc that suggests this isn't the last we'll hear of this forgotten hero of pop.

December 1, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Fortunately filmmaker Bendjelloul decided that Rodriguez's story needed to be told - one of the most fascinating biographies ever put on film.

November 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Part music documentary, part mystery, all inspirational homage to unrecognized genius everywhere.

October 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

For the most part an endearing documentary about mystery Bob Dylan-like singer Sixto Rodriguez.

October 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An amazing story. If music is the glue of the world then Rodriguez is the super glue.

October 18, 2012 Full Review Source: The Popcorn Junkie
The Popcorn Junkie

Does a nice job of presenting the mystery and history of Rodriguez... but seems incomplete, and biased in favor of its predetermined narrative.

October 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Rodriguez, once he emerges from the mists, appears to be a sweet, decent - and remarkably intact - soul. One wonders if he had achieved his rock 'n' roll dreams, would his daughters have turned out so well?

October 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Comment (1)
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

There's a fascinating story in the rise and fall of singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, "the Latin Bob Dylan," and it's too bad that the documentary "Searching for Sugar Man" doesn't tell enough of it.

October 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

A soulful, lip-tremblingly joyous movie that's one of the more affecting experiences I've had in a cinema this year.

October 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Flicks.co.nz
Flicks.co.nz

Engrossing even when it's a little unfocused.

October 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

One of the most bizarre pop music documentaries ever...a singularly fascinating true-life tale that many of its participants still find difficult to believe.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: 3AW

Audience Reviews for Searching for Sugar Man

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.
April 7, 2013
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 ;-)
March 21, 2013
imrealgod

Super Reviewer

This film unfortunately suffered from the hype machine. Had I stumbled upon this documentary while scanning for late night entertainment, then I admit I would probably be much more impressed than I am right now.

With so much praise being heaped on this film, I was expecting something a bit more probing and/or profound. Instead, I got a delightful little doc about a humble American folk singer who after years of drowning in myth and obscurity, discovered that his art has touched the lives of millions in other parts of the globe.

It doesn't villify the music industry or spend too much time looking to assign blame. Rather, it seeks to celebrate. Not only the artist Rodriguez, but the power of music. Sounds rather cliche, but Searching For Sugar Man somehow manages to make it feel fresh.

While not one of the more exciting films to be released this year, Sugar Man will surely leave a smile on your face.
March 11, 2013
axadntpron
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

A well shot and produced doc with a fascinating story. It's hard to wrap your mind around something like this story playing out when we've lived so long in a world connected online. I doubt we will be able to have a story such as this happen again.
February 23, 2013
superclerk25

Super Reviewer

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