Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Oct 19, 2012
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Sep 14, 2012
    It starts as a bittersweet parable about the cruelty of commerce, but the wonder of Searching for Sugar Man will not soon slip away.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 8, 2012
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Aug 2, 2012
    "Searching" has emotional valleys and zeniths, and gasp-inducing turns, as old friends, fans and Rodriguez's grown daughters are interviewed.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 26, 2012
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Jul 25, 2012
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jul 27, 2012
    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.
  8. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Jul 27, 2012
    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.
  9. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Sep 20, 2012
    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.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 9, 2012
    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.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 28, 2012
    This is a real-life fairy tale with a remarkably happy ending.
  12. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jul 26, 2012
    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."
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Sep 1, 2012
    Love this documentary! I'd never heard of Rodriguez and was completely engrossed. A really fascinating story from beginning to end. Do not miss this one. Full Review »
  2. Jul 29, 2012
    Do not read another word about this film; just go and see it now. You will not be disappointed. What an incredible and moving story. I loved every second. Full Review »
  3. Sep 27, 2013
    A documentary that looks like something out of fiction, in which a sincere musician finds, after many years, his place in the world. A beautiful history. Full Review »