Title – Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)
Director – Olivia Newman (First Match)
Cast – Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn
Plot – In the American deep south of the 1950’s/60’s, the quiet and socially shunned Kya Clark (Edgar-Jones) is being put to trial for the murder of Chase Andrews (Dickinson), a local identity she had dealings with but as the true story of “The Marsh Girl” becomes more apparent, questions begin to be asked about the true reasoning behind Chase’s demise.
“Secrets are buried just below the surface”
Review by Eddie on 29/07/2022
Copping a fairly decent critical drubbing from reviewers across the globe, with a Rotten Tomatoes score entrenched in the lowly 30’s, Olivia Newman’s high-profile adaptation of Delia Owens hugely popular novel is a surprisingly engaging and faithful imagining of the tale of The Marsh Girl and her fight to prove her innocence in a town that has long pigeonholed her into a character they believe her too be.
Capturing the time and place this story takes place in across the 1950’s and 60’s, Newman brings Owen’s world to life in vivid fashion as we are introduced to the isolated yet beautiful world of Kya Clark, played by rising star Daisy Edgar-Jones, as the brave and determined soul learns to live in the face of insurmountable odds as her love triangle with the kindly Tate Walker and the arrogant Chase Andrews threatens to derail her life when Andrew’s is found dead in the marshlands one fateful morning.
Large part romance, with sprinklings of mystery and courtroom drama thrown in for good measure, not all elements of Where the Crawdads Sing narrative work to the level you would hope for, with the courtroom scenes and some romantic interludes no better than day time soap operas, but there is enough working here to make Kya’s journey one that’s going to strike a chord with many, much like Owen’s book managed to do over the last couple of years.
Key to the films success outside of its stunning locations and ability to bring the deep south too life before our eyes is the lead performance of Edgar-Jones, who manages to overcome some frosty at times chemistry with her male leads (with the Kings Man’s Harris Dickinson feeling like a wrong choice for football star Andrews) to deliver another noteworthy performance in a career that is building before our eyes and thanks to her fine work here, the trials and tribulations of Kya’s personal experiences makes for heart- wrenching and heartwarming material that is sure to please fans of the book hoping that their heroine will be given justice in this Reese Witherspoon backed feature.
Unlikely to ever be regarded as a classic adaptation of a divisive yet undeniably gripping book, Newman’s film is far better than its been given credit for by the critical realm, who seemed lined up with their pitchforks well before they had even laid eyes on this drama that features one of recent memories most memorable protagonists.
Final Say –
Working more often than not, Where the Crawdads Sing is a faithful and well-shot version of Delia Owen’s hugely popular book and provides justice to a fictional character that is one of the most intriguing literary creations of modern times.
3 1/2 birthday cakes out of 5