Where the Crawdads Sing is a courtroom drama directed by Olivia Newman and produced by Reese Witherspoon for Columbia Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by Delia Owens, which I have not read.
Catherine “Kya” Clark (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is a girl who lives in isolation in a North Carolina march in 1968. When the body of local Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson) is found, she is arrested when they find fibers from a hat that belongs to her. Her lawyer Tom Milton (David Strathairn) says she was offered a plea deal which she refuses. As the trial progresses, we see flashbacks to how her mother and siblings abandoned her to an abusive father Jackson (Garret Dillahunt) who also disappears. Deciding to care for herself, she becomes known as “Marsh Girl” and finds kindness with Black couple James (Sterling Macer Jr.) and Mabel Madison (Michael Hyatt) who own a store. In high school, she meets local student Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith) who falls in love with her. He, too, vanishes and soon she meets Chase. At first, he promises to marry her but grows more violent. Kya writes a book and on the night of her first signing, that is the night Chase vanishes.
Daisy Edgar-Jones is brilliant in the film as is Jojo Regina who plays young Kya. Between the two of them, you definitely feel connected to her as you follow her life. Edgar-Jones does a good job of conveying the character’s hopes, dreams, and fear, enduring you to her. Her connection to her world and those around her were definitely felt.
I also really enjoyed the soundtrack and score. The music was handled by Mychael Danna and it was excellent. It complemented the story very well and never once felt intrusive or out of sync with the scenes.
The movie did have an issue in that it does not bring anything new. I am always happy to see the South portrayed in a way that is not a boring caricature and the movie does this well. However, it all felt a bit mediocre as the movie progressed. I have not read the novel, so I cannot compare it, but the film did not impress me as much as I was hoping. I cannot confidently say where the disconnect was, but despite having an excellent lead, it just never pulled me in.
Bottom line, Where the Crawdads Sing is an interesting character study, but it fails to pull into the plot the way you, as the audience, would like it to.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Some foul language, Minor violence, Sexual content
FAVORITE QUOTE: People forget about the creatures that live in shells.
Check out the trailer below:
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