If you see “Where the Crawdads Sing,” please be prepared to have your heart ripped out and completely stomped on again and again. The film has brought Delia Owens’ bestselling novel to life in the most tragically beautiful way.
- The movie follows Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones, who recently starred in “Under The Banner of Heaven”) as she learns to fend for herself in the marshlands of North Carolina after her family abandons her.
- The film bounces back and forth between past and present, with Kya on trial in the present for the murder of local boy Chase Andrews.
- Rumors spread quickly about Kya the “marsh girl,” but the audience discovers what she’s actually like through flashbacks, as Kya opens herself to new experiences and creates relationships with sweet, tender-hearted Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith) and privileged yet powerful Chase (Harris Dickinson).
The good parts: “Where the Crawdads Sing” is simply a masterpiece. The cinematography, acting and plot are absolutely enthralling, and it left me hooked within the first 10 minutes.
- The movie does a great job portraying the book’s sensitive topics of abuse, neglect, abandonment and rape in an extremely realistic way. You truly feel every emotion throughout this movie — whether you want to or not.
- The film remains true to the book. While you don’t have to read the book before seeing the movie, you’ll love it all the more if you have. The characters and location are almost exactly how I pictured them to be in the novel. While I was afraid the actress cast as Kya was too “clean,” Edgar-Jones surprised me and played the role phenomenally — she contrasted Kya’s “marsh girl” title that was assigned to her by society with Kya’s beauty, smarts and unexpected grace.
The cast: Edgar-Jones’ role in Hulu’s “Normal People” as a generally unliked girl with an abusive father seems to have prepared her to play Kya. The actress properly portrays the character’s curiosity, wonder and vulnerability through her expressive brown eyes and mannerisms.
- Sterling Macer Jr. is the perfect Jumpin’ — a kindhearted, protective and loving man who looks like he gives great hugs. Macer’s performance might make you wish he was your dad, which is the epitome of Jumpin’s character.
- Harris Dickinson makes you absolutely hate his character’s guts, which means he played Chase Andrews perfectly. His thoughtless, slimy demeanor does the character justice.
- David Strathairn smashed his role as Kya’s attorney out of the park. Reminiscent of Atticus Finch, Strathairn’s defending speech gives you the hope that he and Kya might just win the case after all.
- The bad parts: This movie will give you puffy eyes and a runny nose from the tears that will run down your face. This is an extremely heavy and emotionally draining movie. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but rather a warning so that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
- While some are calling the movie’s pacing “clunky” or “slow,” I felt the slower pace was necessary in order for the audience to truly understand Kya’s upbringing and to become invested in her character. Without it, I don’t think I would have been as heartbroken when she went through difficult circumstances. It also matched the vibe of the slow, Southern town the story took place in.
The bottom line: “Where the Crawdads Sing” is an incredibly gripping murder mystery and romance that has a plot unlike any other, with a great twist at the end. If you enjoy good acting, aesthetic cinematography and Taylor Swift, you will love this movie.