Where the Crawdads Sing brings the North Carolina-set best-selling Delia Owens mystery drama novel to the big screen.
I want to preface this review by saying that I did not read the book. In glancing over the Wikipedia page after watching the movie, the film is a faithful adaptation, attempted rape and all. Let me warn you right now that there are a few scenes that feature abuse in this film.
When we first meet Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones), the authorities are looking for her because she’s suspected of killing Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson). She’s been on her own ever since her family left her when she was a young kid. It’s because of this that everyone in Barkley Cove calls her “Marsh Girl.” When one is teased and harassed in this manner, it’s going to make them feel isolated. There are so few people for Kya to trust–Jumpin’ (Sterling Macer Jr.) and Mabel (Michael Hyatt) are among the few that she can trust. They basically become the parental figures in her life and look after her.
This is a film that’s told in two parts, in essence. Mind you, a lot of it is flashbacks during the leadup to the trial. The first part sees Kya getting to know Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith). Chase gets her attention during the second half. You can see the contrasts between the two. Tate has real feelings for her while one feels a gut feeling about Chase almost immediately. Tom Milton (David Strathairn) defends Kya in court and gets to know her before the trial begins. Once the trial really gets going is when anyone reading the book is at advantage. I might have my own feelings about guilty or not guilty but the only thing I know is what I see on screen. The jury has to make a decision, for better or worse. Is it the right verdict? You’ll just have to see.
In watching the film. I get a lot of Nicholas Sparks vibes. It’s a melodramatic love story and someone ends up dying right off the bat. Of course, this film is tugging on all of our emotional strings. Just watch the final 15 minutes and you can’t help but have tears. Overall, it’s the sort of film the blends genres with romance, mystery, and a trial. Kya’s situation also puts her as an underdog so when the cards are against her, you want to see her come out ahead.
Taylor Swift, a fan of the book, pens the haunting “Carolina.” Whether she’ll get an Oscar nomination is something that we will not know for several months. Sony will almost certainly be pushing the song during awards season.
If you’re a fan of the Nicholas Sparks movies, Where the Crawdads Sing is a film that will be right up your alley. Without Reese Witherspoon championing the book, the film might not exist. It’s a film that provides a story for hope and survival, which is something that we all could use right now.
DIRECTOR: Olivia Newman
SCREENWRITER: Lucy Alibar
CAST: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, Michael Hyatt, Sterling Macer Jr., and David Strathairn
Sony will release Where the Crawdads Sing on July 15, 2022. Grade: 3/5
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