Searching for Sugar Man – The Review

Searching for Sugar Man. This was quite a movie. I am generally not particularly interested in documentaries (unless they cater specifically to my interest), but my flight was overly long and my friend was particularly eager to watch it. Before you knock me for watching it on a low resolution screen with shoddy audio quality, allow me to retort. One, this is a documentary. Not exactly high octane action that requires a gigantic screen. Secondly, the screen was actually decent and I used headphones that were quite a bit better than the stuff supplied by airlines. Besides, there is no point in opening their packaging (of airline headphones) and forcing them to put them into new packaging for next flights. I love the environment. Before I get lost in one of my tangents, let’s get back on track. Searching for Sugar Man.

I find all of these recommendations and reviews a  bit too much, but I couldn't find any better poster. Deal with it

I find all of these recommendations and reviews a bit too much, but I couldn’t find any better poster. Deal with it

The movie tells the story of Sixto Rodriguez, an American folk singer who disappeared into obscurity despite achieving cult status in South Africa (he also had a tour in Australia, but this is omitted from the movie). Cinematography is simple and unobtrusive, which is quite appropriate for a documentary about music. It does look quite nice though, with slow shots of cities such as Johannesburg and Detroit. Some minor visual effects are also applied. Those do not distract from the story, simply used to add a bit of flair when cities in question are looked at. Some old footage is also used appropriately, which really only adds to the experience

The story follows efforts by South African music aficionados and journalists to uncover the truth behind Rodriguez’s disappearance. It is rather difficult to discuss acting as this is a documentary. The story behind Rodriguez was quite interesting for me, despite or perhaps exactly because I’ve never heard of him. Either way, please try to go into this movie blind. To do otherwise would be a disservice. The story is quite fascinating really, not in the least because it demonstrates just how much of an impact a musician can make on social trends at the time, in particular the efforts to end the apartheid regime. Some insight into music industry is provided which is also quite interesting.


Music used throughout the movie comes from Rodriguez’s albums: Cold Facts and Coming from reality. I personally found music choices to be quite good, with some songs emphasising some of the more poignant moments. The music itself I found to be quite good as well, and after giving it a listen, I am not surprised Rodriguez’s status as a cult musician.


  • I found the soundtrack to be quite nice. Here are some of the standout songs for me

Conclusion – Searching for Sugar Man is an uplifting story that everyone should watch. Even if you are not particularly into documentaries, the story behind it is quite fascinating and in another world would probably be made into an Oscar bait movie. However, it is real in this case and thus should be immune to such criticism. I apologise for the lack of detail regarding plot and acting. However, it is impossible to discuss such things without impacting your enjoyment of this fine documentary.


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