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Movie Review of ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’: The end leaves the audience baffled

High on Films

Catherine Kya Clark is played by Daisy Edgar Jones in Where the Crawdads Sing.

The Crawdads Sing will be released in India today, i.e. September 16.

Name: Where the Crawdads Sing

Rating: 3 / 5

Where the Crawdads Sing Cast: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn

Where the Crawdads Sing Director: Olivia Newman

Because of the controversy surrounding the controversial bestseller by Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing is the ideal catfish to hook you for an emotional watch. With Daisy Edgar-Jones of Normal People fame taking on the role of Kya, or as the town refers to her; The Marsh Girl, can the Olivia Newman directed film live up to the hype surrounding the novel? Here’s what we can find out!

During Where the Crawdads Sing, we meet the mysterious Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones), who lives in a North Carolina marsh called Barkley Cove in the 1950s and faces the prejudice of elitist town folk. Thanks to her abusive father, Kya had a terrible childhood, with her mother and siblings simply leaving her behind to take care of themselves. In your opinion, Kya might be a risk-taking personality, so she may live up to her nickname The Marsh Girl, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith), the narrator finally finds someone who teaches her to read, write, and explore her own love of biology by studying the various books. Unfortunately, this relationship doesn’t work out either.

Amidst this thrilling Y/A romance (meaning YA love), there is also a murder mystery included, in which Chace Andrew (Harris Dickinson), a popular a*shole, is found dead. Due to his ties with Kya and in spite of the town’s dislike of her, The Marsh Girl becomes the instant suspect. Kya turns out to be a knight in shining armour after she finds an ally in retired lawyer Tom Milton (David Strathairn), who defends her in court. In the series of chapters that follows, we try to decipher the true identity behind The Marsh Girl’s schtick and whether she’s guilty or not.

As for the performances in Where the Crawdads Sing, Daisy Edgar-Jones gives a heartwarming performance and makes you feel for Kya, even though the script sometimes fails the complicated character. Adding a certain innocence to Kya with a touch of intrigue, Daisy adds a dash of class to the emotional sequences. Even Jojo Regina as the 10-year-old Kya is a heartwarming presence.While Taylor John Smith has the stereotypical “blonde hair, blue eyes” good looks, he exudes natural chemistry with Edgar-Jones that is pleasing to the eye.

Harris Dickinson plays Chace Andrew with just the right amount of brashness, but with only a limited character sketch, you never really feel anything about his death. While David Strathairn is enjoyable to watch on the big screen, especially during the courtroom scenes when he dismantles the haphazard investigation and careless accusations at Kya, Michael Hyatt and Sterling Macer Jr. as Mabel and Jumpin’ become emotional as Kya’s pseudo guardians.

Irish Film Critic

Though the actors do the best they can with what they have, it’s the shallow script that seems like a wasted opportunity for Where the Crawdads Sing. The story glosses over such subjects as abuse, racism, and otherness (something the book is also criticized for not doing), but it never deeply explores their intricate execution. You get an unsatisfying feeling after the middle of the film and you don’t feel like the director succeeds in showing a really humane side of a seriously misunderstood, deeply exploited character. Though there are quite a few twists and turns, there is not enough gravitas attached to really scare the audience.

Credit where credit is due and the sensitive approach at play is enough to stun viewers as Polly Morgan’s beautiful cinematography (accompanied by Kya’s marshland artwork) takes centre stage. On the other hand, Michael Danna’s score is really bad and really overdramatic.

Where the Crawdads Sing can be considered as a one-time watch, but it had the potential to blossom like Kya eventually does…

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