• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 14, 2018
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 13 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Apr 20, 2018
    100
    The Searcher is a spellbinding and grippingly revealing documentary. On the plus side, it eschews the tiresome talking-head structure, but doesn’t always identify who is speaking, which only occasionally makes you wonder who’s speaking.
  2. Reviewed by: Sheila O'Malley
    Apr 20, 2018
    100
    Elvis' personal life is present, but not foregrounded. "Elvis Presley: The Searcher" feels like a long overdue act of artistic redress.
  3. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Apr 20, 2018
    91
    The Searcher is filled with photos, home movies, and audio recordings that haven’t seen the light of day before. To make the most of what sets The Searcher apart, Zimny eschews talking-head interviews. ... It’s more of a down-to-earth appreciation of Elvis Presley’s unique gifts, and a clear-eyed explication of why and how he so often squandered them. The documentary isn’t a simplistic “rise and fall” cautionary tale, either.
  4. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Apr 20, 2018
    90
    There are a lot of reasons to love The Searcher, and that tape fragment (from the night Elvis and a pickup band turned a stately bluegrass waltz called "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" into a balls-to-the-wall jam) is a big one. Director Thom Zimny, who has made several well-regarded Bruce Springsteen documentaries, got access to everything in the Graceland archives, from home movies to ancient recordings of radio interviews.
  5. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Apr 20, 2018
    90
    Elvis Presley: The Searcher, is a fine demonstration of how the passage of time can help place even the biggest and most overloved superstars into a blessed relief. The film is a calm and deeply empathetic recounting of Presley’s life, split in two. ... A careful mélange of archival film and sonic clarity, The Searcher is a fine reassessment of Presley’s origins and impact.
  6. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Apr 20, 2018
    90
    Probing and thoughtful. ... This two-part, three and a half-hour film feels like a landmark, something that should be welcomed as warmly as the two Elvis books published in the 1990s by Peter Guralnick, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love.
  7. Reviewed by: Glenn Gamboa
    Apr 20, 2018
    88
    The central argument in Zimny’s loving, but unflinching documentary “Elvis Presley: The Searcher” is that his openness and inquisitive nature is what made him the King.
  8. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Apr 20, 2018
    83
    HBO’s three-and-a-half hour Elvis Presley: The Searcher is an evocative documentary without malice.
  9. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Apr 20, 2018
    80
    The voice-over commentary that’s most valuable comes from musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, who deeply understand Presley’s music and motivations, and critics who’ve thought long and hard about Elvis, like Nik Cohn and writer turned producer Jon Landau. ... You’ll have your own moments of discovery. Elvis works his way on everyone individually.
  10. Reviewed by: Jon Pareles
    Apr 20, 2018
    80
    Elvis Presley: The Searcher can’t escape the familiarity of its story. But it focuses, with purposeful tunnel vision, on Presley as a musician and performer.
  11. Reviewed by: Jack Hamilton
    Apr 20, 2018
    70
    The Searcher is at its best when it tackles the subject of Presley’s music on the music’s own terms, an impressive feat given the extent to which Elvis’ iconography has come to overwhelm the particulars of his recording career.
  12. 70
    A lengthy and meticulous, childhood-to-grave account of Elvis’s brief time on Earth. ... The superficiality of the film’s biography makes it feel rushed, even when it’s making a point of lingering (as in the sections on Elvis entering the Army and Elvis becoming a sequined creature of Vegas). ... Still, The Searcher excels when it analyzes the evolution of Elvis’s music and image.
  13. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Apr 20, 2018
    60
    Elvis Presley: The Searcher is an art documentary, one supposes, and such things [the Beatles, uderaged Priscilla Presley and the affair with Ann-Margret) might be considered immaterial, if only the film weren’t so selective otherwise in integrating the personal with the musical.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 2 out of 13
  1. Aug 29, 2018
    7
    I suppose there will always be reasons to talk about Elvis, he's that kind of icon. This documentary is a very good example and one quite wellI suppose there will always be reasons to talk about Elvis, he's that kind of icon. This documentary is a very good example and one quite well done for that matter. Maybe somewhat excessive in duration but it's worth it. Full Review »