Searching for Sugar Man
Searching for Sugar Man

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Certificate: 12A | Released: 2012 | Duration: 1 hr 26 mins | Director: Malik Bendjelloul | Studio: Studio Canal | Genres: Documentary

The Academy Award-winning producer of Man on Wire unveils the incredible and moving story of Rodriguez, a ‘70s U.S. rock icon who never was. In the late ‘60s, a musician was discovered in a Detroit bar by two celebrated producers who were struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics. They recorded an album that they believed was going to secure his reputation as one of the greatest recording artists of his generation. Despite overwhelming critical acclaim, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscuri ... (Full plot summary below)

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Full Plot Details

The Academy Award-winning producer of Man on Wire unveils the incredible and moving story of Rodriguez, a ‘70s U.S. rock icon who never was. In the late ‘60s, a musician was discovered in a Detroit bar by two celebrated producers who were struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics. They recorded an album that they believed was going to secure his reputation as one of the greatest recording artists of his generation. Despite overwhelming critical acclaim, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, it became a phenomenon. Two South African fans then set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation led them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez. This is a film about hope, inspiration and the resonating power of music.

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Movie Reviews

Miami Herald - 7.5/10 by Rene Rodriguez On one level, Searching for Sugar Man is a testament to how music - or painting or literature or any form of art - can take on a life far greater than its creator intended when it happens to connect with the right people at the right time.
Slant Magazine - 6.3/10 by Chris Cabin Despite crafting a consistently engaging film, the director doesn't present the full scope of Sixto Rodriguez's life.
Charlotte Observer - 8.8/10 by Lawrence Toppman Rodriguez' inner peace wins us over. He seems to have enjoyed recording music, fathering kids, cleaning houses, playing sold-out gigs and simply strumming a guitar in his kitchen. Searching for Sugar Man reminds us that a wise man knows lasting riches are never the result of record sales.
Los Angeles Times - 9.0/10 by Betsy Sharkey The truth-is-stranger-than-fiction saga has been a hit on the festival circuit, winning top documentary prizes at Sundance for Sweden's Bendjelloul. What sets Searching for Sugar Man apart, though, is the way in which the filmmaker preserves a sense of mystery in the telling.
Variety - 7.0/10 by Dennis Harvey A winning musical detective story about a failed, forgotten early '70s rocker.
indieWIRE - 8.3/10 by Eric Kohn For a quarter of a century -- unbeknownst to most Americans, including Rodriguez's original producers -- the singer landed a massive following in the country where his humanitarian outlook provided an escape for many disgruntled youth struggling under apartheid, elevating him to the stature of a "South African Elvis."
Movieline - 7.5/10 by Michelle Orange Sugar Man is most interesting when it touches on the conditions that combined to draw a cult hero out of some decent music and a generously enabled, imagination-firing mystique.
The New York Times - 8.0/10 by Manohla Dargis A hugely appealing documentary about fans, faith and an enigmatic Age of Aquarius musician who burned bright and hopeful before disappearing.

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