The first thing people will always say about Searching is, “Oh, yeah, the film that’s completely set on a computer screen.” But if it were just that, it would be far from enough. Impressively, first-time filmmaker and former Google commercials creator Aneesh Chaganty has also made a real movie, the story of a family that morphs into a crime drama that gradually ratchets up the tension as all good thrillers must, one that’s well constructed and acted as well as novel in its storytelling techniques. […] Searching delivers dramatic satisfactions in addition to technical sophistication.
[…] [F]ortysomething David (John Cho) spends a great deal of his time online, and there is a certain comfort in this: Don’t we all? The familiarity of most of the places David inhabits online invites dramatic complicity, as does his desire to keep up with his beloved daughter [Margot, (Janel Parrish)]. But as the film enters real-time territory, David can’t reach Margot and becomes concerned […]. David’s alarm mounts when he calls Margot’s piano teacher and learns that, despite her lessons having been paid for, she hasn’t shown up for a lesson in six months. He contacts a couple of other people, with equally frustrating results, and finally faces the fact that something’s up.
In all respects, what Chaganty and his team have pulled off here is something both novel and accomplished.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter