Missing was a jaw-dropping and enticing film that left me thoroughly disturbed–and satisfied


Via @searchingmovie and @sonypictureshomeentertainment on Instagram

Missing was a captivating film through a computer’s camera lens.

I vividly remember watching a film called Searching during quarantine. It was about a father whose daughter went missing, and the only clues for him to find her were those left on her computer. It was an intriguing premise and was executed amazingly, but, once it was over, I never thought about it again. 

That is, until I saw a preview for almost the exact same movie: Missing

Okay, that’s a bit extreme—it wasn’t the exact same, but it was obvious that the same creators had made this one as the one I watched during quarantine. The interesting part was that, along with similar plots, both movies had a unique take on the camerawork: the only lens we see the story through is that of the device being used. 

Missing made me feel utterly lost and confused beyond comprehension and still somehow managed to tie it together in a way that left me with my mouth agape, staring at the black screen at the end. 

Yes, the films are entirely seen through the cameras on the characters’ computers, phones, security cameras, and even smartwatches.

Missing was first released in the United States on Jan. 20, 2023, and currently has a 90% audience score via Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an 87% on the Tomatometer. 

Currently streaming on Netflix, it is the story of a teenage girl named June Allen (Storm Reid) whose father, James (Tim Griffin) died when she was young. Growing up, her only parental figure was her mother, Grace (Nia Long). June often grew annoyed with Grace for any given reason. In a new relationship with a man named Kevin Lin (Ken Leung), Grace goes on vacation, leaving June home alone. As time passes and Grace doesn’t come home, however, June realizes that her mother is missing. The only tools she can use to find her mother are those online. 

During her persistent attempts to find her mom, June’s friend, Veena (Megan Suri), and Grace’s friend, Heather (Amy Landecker), are two extremely vital—albeit somewhat background—characters. June meets a man named Javi, played by Joaquim de Almeida, and, if I’m being completely honest, he was my favorite part of the entire movie. 

I love Javi. He serves as a go-between of sorts for June on the search for her mom, and the two become friends, despite having a very, very prominent age difference.

In terms of the actual production and execution of the film as a whole, it was a bit cheesy at times, primarily because of the idea that all of it is seen through a camera lens on the girl’s computer. No real teenager narrates their life in such a way, especially during a crisis like this. And, as is to be expected from a film essentially seen through a MacBook FaceTime camera, the quality wasn’t always the greatest, but the plot is enough to make up for any given one of these gimmicks.

Despite being somewhat cheesy, Reid’s acting during the course of this film is incredible; the fear in her eyes visibly grows as the movie progresses, and there is a scene in particular where tears well up in her eyes in a genuine, almost flawless manner. 

Many of the actors in this film portrayed exactly what they needed to in terms of being conniving or concerned or whatever it may have been, and I respect the directors infinitely for that. 

The often poor quality of the cameras in the film is enough to invoke a sense of authenticity and fear in the viewer, providing a sort of glimpse into the vagueness and lack of clarity of the situation to June. 

Truthfully, I don’t care if it was a bit corny at times; the plot twists were subtle at first, but became some of the most insane ones I’ve seen in a while. I audibly screamed when I realized a few of them, which didn’t make my dog very happy with me, but it was a moot point. 

Missing made me feel utterly lost and confused beyond comprehension and still somehow managed to tie it together in a way that left me with my mouth agape, staring at the black screen at the end.