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5 Reasons to See the Movie "Searching" (2018)

I saw Searching (2018) in theaters a few months ago, and I really enjoyed myself. It was very moving and thought-provoking. This film won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival, which most of the time raises red flags in my mind, but not with this film.

I'm not giving the film a review, because I think you should go see it. But I will give you five not-too-spoily reasons why I recommend this film. How's that for a compromise?

(Note: While the movie does deal with a horrific and frightening scenario: a young girl going missing, I didn't see any of the language or violence as overly gratuitous.)

1. THE FILMING STYLE IS NON-TRADITIONAL AND ENTIRELY ABSORBING. In a way, the filming choice reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, in which we (the audience) are stuck with Jimmy Stewart as he observes the world from his apartment window.

In the case of Searching, we (the audience) view the world through David Kim's (John Cho) computer screen. Just like in Rear Window you're forced to see the events more intimately through the eyes of the lead character, the father.

2. THE FAMILY UNIT IS DEEMED VALUABLE. In many films, the family unit is denigrated or ridiculed. Not in Searching. The film takes an honest look at what happens to a family amid tragedy, pointing us to see one, among many, reasons why the institution of the family still matters.

3. THE FATHER IS HONORABLE, THOUGH IMPERFECT. David Kim's love for his daughter deeply moved me, reminding me of God's love for his lost children. Though I don't have a daughter, this movie gave me a glimpse into the heart of a man who's desperate to bring his child home...but not in the Liam Neeson..."I'm going to hunt you down and kill you" type of way (from the Taken films).

While David doesn't always make the right decisions, he's not portrayed as a buffoon either but a strong and compassionate man worthy of respect. (Without going into any details, much of the same can be said about the mother.)

4. MICHELLE LA WHO PLAYS THE DAUGHTER (MARGOT) WENT TO BIOLA UNIVERSITY. Okay, so, as a Biola Unversity alumni (2008), I had to mention this point. Though I didn't know her when I was at the school, we did walk the same campus and, presumably, attend many of the same classes, or at least buildings. I bring this up, of course, to point out I'm a little more famous than I was before...I also sense my acting skills leveling up as I type.

5. I LEFT FEELING AND THINKING DEEPLY. For a lack of a better word, this film is robustly human. I left the theater contemplating the culture we inhabit right now in terms of the benefits and dangers technology offers. It also made me consider the gravity of what it means to live in a fallen world, cursed by sin.

At its best, movies allow us to participate in the corners of human experience (the joyful and heart-breaking ones) that we may never have (or may never will) visited before, helping us become more thoughtful and compassionate image-bearers.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a thrilling and unconventional love-story of another sort that also has enough depth to dialogue about, pick up Searching at your local Redbox or rent it on demand.

Then, make sure to let me know what you think! Just know, if you didn't like it, this was written by one of my board members.



Dane Bundy is president of Stage & Story and cast chaplain at LifeHouse Theater in Redlands, CA.

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