Plot: What’s it about?
Based on the best-selling novel, Where the Crawdads Sing is the kind of film that used to be made much more often than now. It’s also the kind of film more likely to attract fans of the source material or the genre than the critics. And that is perfectly fine as I found the film to be quite enjoyable and kept me along for the ride. It maybe is a shade too long, but it has a lot of ground to cover from the novel. It features some solid performances and a pretty unique story that kept me involved and got me to care about the characters and where the story would take them.
Catherine “Kya” Clark (Jojo Regina as the young version and Daisy Edgar-Jones as the current version) becomes commonly known as “The Marsh Girl” around the North Carolina town where she grows up. This is because she lives out, secluded from the main town with her abusive father, her mother, and her many siblings. The film begins in the 1950’s, and we learn that her mother and siblings all run off, and Kya is left all alone with her father. Her relationship softens with her father, but it doesn’t take long before Kya is completely abandoned. She tries school for not even a day before learning that she would rather educate herself than deal with the constant bullying from her classmates. She befriends a local store owner and his wife, and makes money by selling mussels to him. There are two important male figures in the film. One of them is Tate Walker (Luke David Blumm as the young version and Taylor John Smith as the older version) and he and Kya meet at an early age, then become closer at they grow older. I won’t spoil things, but the second boy is Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson) and he and Kya begin a relationship, but it’s best to experience this as you watch the film. Of course, those who’ve read the novel will have an idea of how these relationships play out, but I found myself drawn in by all the plot dynamics and characters. I haven’t even touched on the central premise and that is the murder mystery and Kya is the primary suspect. The film jumps between timelines, but confusion never enters as it is simple to follow along as the film progresses.
Crawdads certainly didn’t impress most critics, but I found it quite enjoyable, and it brought back memories of a time when these films were much more frequent. There are some slow spots, but overall, things move along nicely and keep us engaged. What I think is the main issue is perhaps some were expecting more of a mystery/thriller, and that may be fair, but it really is a drama first and foremost, with the murder mystery being present, but taking a backseat to the characters and their relations. So, knowing what to expect going in will certainly help. I am glad to have spent my time with this one.
The Bottom Line
I didn’t quite know what to expect but knowing that the film is more of a drama than a flat-out murder mystery will likely help one’s enjoyment here. That, and having knowledge of the source material. Where the Crawdads Sing earns a mild recommendation from me.