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Searching (2018) on IMDb

music lessonPlot Overview

Tech-savvy father David Kim (John Cho) and his wife Pamela (Sara Sohn) plot the mile­stones of their daughter's life on their computer. From First day at school to First piano lesson to First day, grade one, they've got it documented. The computer technology improves over the years. Now they shop online and research the mom's disease. Some­time after 8th Grade, day one comes the mom's memorial service: 1971–2015, and then it's just dad and daughter, and occasionally David's pot­head brother Peter (Joseph Lee.)

Come one night in 2017 David sound asleep is rung by now 16-year-old Margot (Michelle La) but doesn't wake up. He can't find her the next day. Worried he hacks into her laptop to discover discrepancies between what he sees and what he thought her life consisted of. He calls 9–1–1 and gets immediate assistance on the ground from Det. Sgt. Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing.) The official speculations don't jibe with his perceptions.


waste basketReading over David's shoulder we concur that his kid had some emotional issues—she had recently lost her mom, so who wouldn't? There are the pics David sent her of the over­flowing trash basket that was her responsibility; she wasn't keeping her environment tidy. She goes to Ever­creek high school and spends alone time at Barbosa Lake; a natural setting can be healing. Her high school friends are supportive, but she invests more in her social media friendships; hmm.

The Apocrypha is accepted by Catholics, and its Wisdom books by the Protestants for edification purposes (though they be not included in the latter's canon.) Among them is Eccles­ias­ticus, also known as The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach. Portions of it seem applicable to “Searching” as follows: (Sirach 4:27–28) “Make not thyself an underling to a foolish man; neither accept the person of the mighty. Strive for the truth unto death, and the Lord shall fight for thee.” It is more incumbent that David seek the truth for its own sake rather than become a mindless lackey of a big detective.

(Sirach 4:30) “Be not as a lion in thy house, nor frantick among thy servants.” It was good that David restrained him­self from going ballistic over the over­flowing trash can.

(Sirach 5:15) “Be not ignorant of any thing in a great matter or a small.” David's research of his daughter should include the minutia as well as the larger picture.

(Sirach 6:13–17) “Separate thyself from thine enemies, and take heed of thy friends. A faithful friend is a strong defence: and he that hath found such an one hath found a treasure. Nothing doth counter­vail a faithful friend, and his excellency is invaluable. A faithful friend is the medicine of life; and they that fear the Lord shall find him. Whoso feareth the Lord shall direct his friend­ship aright: for as he is, so shall his neighbour be also.” It's good to wall off the social media riff­raff, but I'd say Margot needed to have developed friend­ships in the flesh, and good ones at that.

(Sir. 7:27–28) “Honour thy father with thy whole heart, and forget not the sorrows of thy mother. Remember that thou wast begotten of them; and how canst thou recompense them the things that they have done for thee?” It would be good for Margot to operate within the realm of what her father (and her mother) would approve of.

(Sir. 9:7) “Look not round about thee in the streets of the city, neither wander thou in the solitary place thereof.” It might have been better for Margot to have gone with her friends on their excursion to the mountains rather than go wandering alone by the lake.

(Sir. 9:13) “Keep thee far from the man that hath power to kill; so shalt thou not doubt the fear of death: and if thou come unto him, make no fault, lest he take away thy life presently: remember that thou goest in the midst of snares, and that thou walkest upon the battlements of the city.” Be wary of weird personages and don't get them upset. Social media friend­ships can be snares when you have no real verification if they are who they say they are. And all metaphors aside, Barbosa Ravine is not a place you'd want to fall into.

(Sir. 9:14) “As near as thou canst, guess at thy neighbour, and consult with the wise.” Margot was good at doing some preliminary weeding out of social media friends. How­ever, a Google search on others might have been prudent.

(Sir. 10:3) “An unwise king destroyeth his people; but through the prudence of them which are in authority the city shall be inhabited.” The authoritative detective might have been doing more harm than good.

(Sirach 11:29) “Bring not every man into thine house: for the deceitful man hath many trains.” One shouldn't just friend every­one who shows up on his page. If there were deception involved, it might extend further down the line to who knows whom.

Personally, I think the police should be allowed to do their job. That said, there seems to be some­thing off about the detective that's assigned to this case. I can't help but wonder if she's really the best qualified to lead the investigation and advise the father.

(Ecclesiasticus 38:7–16) Every counsellor extolleth counsel; but there is some that counseleth for himself. Beware of a coun­sellor, and know before what need he hath; for he will counsel for himself; lest he cast the lot with thee, and say unto thee, Thy way is good: and afterward he stand on the other side, to see what shall befall thee. Consult not with one that suspecteth thee: and hide thy counsel from such as envy thee. Neither consult with a woman touching her of whom she is jealous; neither with a coward in matters of war; nor with a merchant concerning exchange; nor with a buyer of selling; nor with an envious man of thank­ful­ness; nor with an unmerciful man touching kindness; nor with the slothful for any work; nor with an hireling for a year of finishing work; nor with an idle servant of much business; hearken not unto these in any matter of counsel. But be continually with a godly man, whom thou knowest to keep the command­ments of the Lord, whose mind is according to thy mind, and will sorrow with thee, if thou shalt mis­carry. And let the counsel of thine own heart stand: for there is no man more faithful unto thee than it; for a man's mind is some­time wont to tell him more than seven watch­men, that sit above in an high tower. And above all this pray to the most High, that he will direct thy way in truth. Let reason go before every enter­prise, and counsel before every action.

Production Values

This 2018 digital thriller, “” was directed by Aneesh Chaganty who co-wrote it with Sev Ohanian. It stars John Cho, Debra Messing, and Joseph Lee. John Cho—of Star Trek vintage—is the central character here and is quite good as an actor. Michelle La plays the missing daughter and wasn't given much screen time. She didn't quite rise to the challenge. Joseph Lee was credible as the doper brother.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for thematic content, some drug and sexual references, and for language. The entire movie was displayed on various screens within the picture, but that worked better than if some­one had to narrate pointing at screens. The director pulled off a movie-realistic experience, much better than was done in “Unfriended: Dark Web.” Dare I say it was but a step up from Thomas Edison's kinetoscope, ™ 1894.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This one worked well as a middle-of-the-road drama/mystery/thriller. It's enough to put one on guard about digital devices but not so much that you couldn't sleep with your mobile device in your room at night. Just use reasonable caution, it seems to say. And be appreciative of your dad whose rules are for your benefit.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects Video Occasion: None of the Above Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Apocryphal scripture taken from The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English. U.S.A.: Hendrick­son Pub. Originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851. Print, WEB.