Movie Review by Marisa Mostek
Imagine the following scenario. You're relaxing in your comfortable armchair by the fire in your modest Michigan home after a long day of hard labor, watching the snow falling gently outside the window. Then, the phone rings. You assume it is one of your daughters on the other line and are surprised when a stranger speaks. Curiosity surmounts when you detect the strange accent in the speaker's voice. It's not an agent with your credit card company demanding payment. It's not a long-lost high school buddy calling to catch up. It is a reporter from South Africa telling you that in his country, you are more famous than Elvis Presley.
This is what the singer-songwriter known only as Rodriguez heard one day in the 1990s. After giving up on his musical career when his two records flopped in the United States long ago, that was the last thing he expected to hear. This is a true tale documented in the Sundance Film Festival Winner, Searching for Sugar Man.
It is a strange tale indeed. Rodriguez's reaction when he is told he is a superstar in South Africa is nothing short of unfathomable. So are the reactions of his daughters. They seem unaffected by such enormous news, hardly believing it at all even after they are brought to South Africa for a concert by their father. Yet the reporter calling Rodriguez is giddy like a child on Christmas morning. As far as he knew, Rodriguez, whose voice bears a shocking resemblance to his contemporary Bob Dylan, was dead. After extensive research and what seemed like a wild goose chase of calls to record company representatives, the truth about Rodriguez finally comes out.
This film is sure to please music enthusiasts or anyone who likes a unique and inspiring family story. Though not likely showing in many theaters due to its obscurity, if you can find it, I recommend you check it out.