A combination of genres, “Where the Crawdads Sing” stays true to the novel’s roots (for the most part)
I have a love-hate relationship with movies based on books. The idea of them is always good, but let’s face it, they usually turn out to be a disappointment.
As a lover of the “Where the Crawdads Sing” novel, I doubted the movie wouldn’t do the book justice. Fortunately, all was not a lost cause.
First director Olivia Newman’s film adaptation of Delia Owens’ bestselling novel stays true to the book’s plot while capturing romance, murder mystery, drama and thriller all in one.
Serene skies and verdant wetlands transport the audience to a different place and time, making you feel the vastness of our heroine’s home. The camera captures an indescribable strangeness across the swamp that makes the audience uneasy.
If the details and atmospheric swamp are indeed identical to the book, the film might lack interest for those who haven’t read Owens’ novel. The movie is slow at times but has a quick ending.
Identical to the novel, “Where the Crawdads Sing” jumps between two different timelines: past and present.
The first timeline tells the story of Kya (Daisy Edgar Jones), who is abandoned by her family and learns to fend for herself in the swamps of North Carolina – except for the help of a business owner. local, Jumpin’, and his wife Mabel. Meanwhile, the second timeline shows Kya on trial for the murder of a privileged local boy, Chase Andrews.
The two timelines are woven together in a way that doesn’t feel abrupt or forced.
Over time, the film portrays Kya’s image as increasingly excluded from society. Eventually, the townspeople call her “the swamp girl”, which, due to prejudice, causes them to frame her for Chase’s murder.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” is unconventional in that you never feel like you’re watching the same movie. Some moments look like they’re straight out of a Nicholas Sparks movie, while other scenes scream “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
One of the main differences between the novel and the film is the way the trial is presented. The audience doesn’t really see the prosecution case, which would have added a lot of suspense to the film. As a result, the trial seems a little more predictable than in the book.
Plot aside, Jones does a fantastic job of encapsulating the essence of Kya: brave, yet reserved. Jones expresses the pain and loneliness that Kya feels in a way that will break your heart for her.
While Kya’s character was well done, the one thing missing was her powerful relationship with her first love, Tate (Taylor John Smith).
Smith does an adequate job playing the sweet love of her hometown, however, her lack of screen time has left Tate’s character and interactions with Kya feeling underdeveloped. So when Tate leaves for college and never comes back, it doesn’t feel like a huge loss.
When Tate returns to Kya, there isn’t the same sympathy felt for her character compared to the novel. Although there’s supposed to be an obvious “good guy” and “bad guy,” both Tate and Chase seem unworthy of Kya.
Tate wasn’t the only character adaptation that disappointed me; I also would have liked to see the character of Jumpin’ (Sterling Macer Jr.) play a bigger role in the movie, like he did in the book. The film adaptation ignored talk of Jumpin’ being a black man in the south in the 1960s.
Ultimately, the film simply lacks the cultural verisimilitude that exists in the book.
In the novel, there are several scenes where Jumpin’ deals with racism, and there’s also a scene where Kya helps fight off bullies. One of the main reasons Jumpin’ and Kya seem to have such a strong bond in the book is because they both know what it’s like to be left out.
Taylor Swift is involved in the film with her haunting song “Carolina,” which sounds like her albums “Folklore” and “Evermore.” However, Swift’s involvement sparked a larger conversation with some fans, criticizing Swift for exercising repeatedly. white feminism.
Swift was also criticized for taking part in the adaptation of the film because the author was linked to the murder of a poacher in Zambia, according to Atlantic. It’s certainly worth noting that Owens’ past also includes an unsolved murder, surprisingly similar to Kya’s story.
This film has its ups and downs, to say the least, but if you like an aesthetically pleasing and atmospheric film, I recommend you watch it. However, for those who have read the novel, the controversy that exists around the film could taint your view of this majestic book.