Where the Crawdads Sing, rated PG-13
Where the Crawdads Sing, based on the bestselling novel by Delia Owens, is a well-made and acted film that has some content concerns. For those who have not read the book (as myself), the film includes a few surprising twists.
The film is directed by Olivia Newman and the screenplay is written by Oscar nominee Lucy Alibar (Beasts of the Southern Wild).
The film, primarily set in the 1950’s and 1960’a, is about Kya Clark, played well by Daisy Edgar-Jones. Daisy and her family live in the marshes of Barkley Cove, North Carolina. When she is young (the young Kya is played by Jojo Regina), she meets a boy on the marshes named Tate Walker. Kya’s father (played by Garrett Dillahunt), is an alcoholic with a bad temper. He eventually drives Kya’s siblings and then her mother to leave the home, leaving Kya with her father, who eventually abandons her as well.
Kya has to survive on her own, and becomes known as the “Marsh Girl”. She is helped by the friendly Christian couple – Michael Hyatt as Mabel and Sterling Macer Jr. as Jumpin’ – that run the country grocery store.
When Kya is older, she meets Tate again, played by Taylor John Smith, and he teaches her to read and write. Kya has a real talent for drawing the animals, insects and trees she encounters in the marsh.
SPOILER ALERT******She and Tate eventually fall in love, but then Tate leaves for college and Kya doesn’t see him for years.
The arrogant former high school football star Chase Andrews, played by Harris Dickinson, then takes a liking to Kya. He tells her that he wants to marry her, but keeps their relationship a secret to his family and friends. Then Chase’s body is found and Kya is charged with his murder. The kind lawyer Tom Milton, played by Oscar nominee David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck ) comes out of retirement to defend her against the murder charge.
Themes in the film include abandonment, shunning and death. Content concerns include adult language, some violence, pre-marital sex and rape (no nudity shown), diminished view of marriage.
Daisy Edgar-Jones is excellent in her role as Kya Clark. She is supported by David Strathairn as Tom Milton and by Michael Hyatt as Mabel and Sterling Macer Jr. as Jumpin’. The cinematography by Polly Morgan is excellent, especially the marsh scenes. Taylor Swift wrote and performed the song “Carolina”, which plays over the closing credits.
Where the Crawdads Sing was a hard film to watch at times, as Kya led a mostly sad life. It is part survival story, love story and murder trial.