SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN [2012] movie review

March 1, 2013 · Print This Article

If things like the amazing story of the musician Rodriguez can be true as seen in the Oscar winning documentary SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN [2012], then the world remains a place of mystery and wonder.  At least the world did before the Internet.

In the early 1970s Rodriguez released two albums.  Everyone involved in the making of them thought they were amazing and were shocked that they did not sell, at all.  By some crazy happenstance, however, the albums and his music became a smash hit in South Africa.  There was no connection though and legend had it Rodriguez killed himself on stage by lighting himself on fire.  In the age before the Internet, there was no real way for ordinary people to confirm such things across continents and decades.

The documentary shows the frustration two fans in South Africa had trying to find answers even when they were willing to travel abroad to follow clues.  All through the first two thirds of the documentary we are introduced to the music of Rodriguez who sings plain songs with mostly acoustic guitar and provocative lyrics, kind of a James Taylor sound, if Taylor was from the streets of Detroit.

My suggestion is do not read more than I have written above about this documentary before seeing it.  I am glad I knew basically nothing and let the documentary makers’ storytelling hold its full surprises on screen.

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