Anxiety Mixes with Beautiful Artistry

Marshlands. Murder. Sea shells. And plenty of seagulls. The 2018 novel Where the Crawdads Sing is now a blockbuster film. As we follow the main character Kya, we face a world of beautiful nature amidst a backdrop of ignorance and judgment. Where the Crawdads Sing invites audiences on an ethereal trip to ‘the 50s/’60s.   

Where the Crawdads Sing summary

Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones), an abandoned girl who raised herself to adulthood in the dangerous marshlands of North Carolina, is drawn to 2 men from her town. When one of them is found dead, “marsh girl” Kya is the main suspect. However, everything is not what it seems as endless secrets unfold within the marsh.

The novel was written by Delia Owens, with the movie adaptation directed by Delia Owens and produced by Reese Witherspoon’s company Hello Sunshine.

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Reese Witherspoon with Harris Dickinson, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Taylor John Smith on the set of Columbia Pictures’ WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING./ CREDIT: Lauren Levy Neustadter © 2022 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Where the Crawdads Sing movie trailer

The trailer doesn’t expose too much about the movie but instead hints that there is some trouble brewing in the skies and for Kya. Even if you’ve read the book and know what happens, how it translates on the screen will shock all audiences.

It paints a realistic and dreamy portrait of the North Carolina marshlands

The minute the movie began, I was swept into the world of the marshlands, with various grasses, animals, and a body of water to keep me company. Like Kya, I, too, felt comfort from the animals coming into view, like seagulls, fireflies, and crawdads. Their sounds echoed in the theater, allowing an out-of-body experience where one could almost sense they were hovering in the North Carolina marshes. The camera also gives a vintage quality, as the movie is supposed to take place between 1952 and 1969.

While the marshlands provide a place of comfort, warmth, and familiarity, the scenes in the town bring tension, anxiety, and conformity. Kya does not fit the town’s mold. She knows it, and we can feel it too. Golden lighting follows Kya as she adventures through the marshes.

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Young Kya (Jojo Regina) in front of the shack in Columbia Pictures’ WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING./ CREDIT: Michele K. Short © 2022 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Once she enters town, though, an abrasive light fills the screen.

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Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) in Columbia Pictures’ WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING./ CREDIT: Michele K. Short © 2022 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The film catches us at romantic and thriller-like crossroads. Sure, the blossoming relationships between Kya and Tate (Taylor John Smith) and Kya and Chase (Harris Dickinson) sit at the center, but the worrying fate of danger creeps up at all points. And it’s not a fear of animals. 

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Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith) in Columbia Pictures’ WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING./ CREDIT: Michele K Short © 2022 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Taylor Swift sings a haunting ballad, “Carolina,” for the end credits. This ending did not calm my nerves but instead dragged me into a state of seeking more answers. But that’s the beauty of a movie, right– to make you want more?

Daisy Edgar-Jones is a standout with the Where the Crawdads Sing movie cast 

If you placed Daisy Edgar-Jones in another period of Hollywood, she would fit right in. Just think of classic silver-screen actresses like Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Vivien Leigh; there is a natural charisma and glow that Daisy possesses.

In Where the Crawdads Sing, Kya is not your typical leading protagonist. She’s adventurous, but she’s stubborn. She may be brave with animals but is shy and guarded towards people. Daisy Edgar-Jones portrays the “marsh girl” with a balance of boldness, curiosity, and caution. Her fresh-faced appearance and delicate movements illustrate that Kya is new to the world around her. However, her eyes tell a different story. They show a lifetime of experiences, pain, wonder, and much more.  

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Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) in Columbia Pictures’ WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING./ CREDIT: Michele K. Short © 2022 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Another standout in the film is the veteran actor David Strathairn who plays the role of Kya’s lawyer Tom Milton. While stern in the courtroom, he shows compassion and fatherly guidance towards her. You can see a fragile-like tenderness between the 2 that grows as the film hits its apex.

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Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Tom (David Strathairn) in Columbia Pictures’ WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING./ Michele K. Short © 2022 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Does the movie hold up like the book?

With book-to-movie adaptations, there can be worries that the film won’t live up to the writing. Whether the movie doesn’t include everything from the original story or different aspects are changed, everyone becomes a critic. 

Hollywood.com’s Jaime Hutkin also attended the screening, having read the book a few years prior. She was pleasantly surprised with how the movie adaptation turned out.

“Sometimes, the experience of watching a movie after you read the book is a letdown–how a director brings a book to life may differ from your own visual imagination-but this wasn’t the case with Where The Crawdads Sing,” Jaime explains. “The visuals were just like I imagined, and it was breathtaking to watch. As expected, there was definitely a Hollywood flair to it, but I feel it held up to the book pretty well.”

Have you read Where the Crawdads Sing? Will you be seeing the movie in theaters? It’s definitely worth experiencing it on the big screen!

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