Where the Crawdads Sing [Grade: 90%]

Director: Olivia Newman

Story By: Lucy Alibar (adapted from Delia Owens)

Cast: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, Sterling Macer, Jr., Michael Hyatt, & David Strathairn

* * *

I was given this book at the start of the last school year by the high school AP Lit teacher so that I could follow along with her class (something we usually do), but I never got a chance to do so… but I wish would have so that I could double the appreciation I had for this film.  

* * *

Theme & Story: A

Pacing: A

Character: A

Overall “Paper” Score: A

* * *

Entertainment Factors

General Public: Worth the $$

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Watch

Film Enthusiasts: Interesting Enough

Drama / Mystery Fans: Worth the $$

Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Interesting Enough

* * *


1. A love story about a young girl left to raise herself in the swamps/marshes of North Carolina finds herself on trial for a crime due partly to judgement by a world and existence different from, and outside of her own. This is Where the Crawdads Sing.

Thematically, one message that stood out to me was about the importance of us (but truly women) protecting our/their peace, and feeling/being protected especially in a classist and/or patriarchal (and I dare say white) world—whew, what a time to be released. 

Act One sets the tone rather quickly in a fairly straightforward exposition way. The crime is made visible in the first 3-5 minutes, speculation of our main character is made immediately with reasons that help paint a picture of how one world perceives the other, and then a pretty typical situation that allows our character to share her background that led up to this moment and plants the thematic seed. 

Act Two is how years of isolation and self dependency cracks open a window of vulnerability and an intersecting of her world with the world of those outside of marsh/swamp which impacts her peace, and challenges her ways of protection. This Act also introduces the interaction regarding the crime. 

Act Three goes full throttle with the theme and its relationship with the the vulnerability and intersecting experiences observed in Act Two. Additionally, this Act did a great job with psyching me out in terms of character suspects and motives, all leading up to the the final verdict, and a plain sight twist. 

This was honestly a solid story. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

2. I hate to generalize, but the moment I noticed the amounts of beers being had, I started to feel uncomfortable about the interaction. 🥴

3. Maybe it was just me, but I loved how Kya’s hair was always one with the tree trunk. It really did a lot with her symbolism. 🙌🏾🙌🏾

4. Those fireworks in that location… 😩😍

5. The first thing I said to myself was, “This pacing is amazing…” and this was the first 3-5 minutes. The film has a runtime of about 115 minutes, and I honestly didn’t feel it. Furthermore, the film took its time without wasting time to get me to know our lead character and build genuine empathy.  👍🏾

6. Yeah… Tate was a cutie… 😏

7. No he didn’t say, “it will feel better with time…” WHAT!?🤦🏾‍♂️

8. That twist! That’s not the direction I went… 🫢

9. The clever ways that evidence and statements were actualized via Kya’s story and the witnesses… 👍🏾👍🏾

10. I felt like every character carried out the theme clearly and cohesively in their own and interesting way, which is something I really value in storytelling. 

First, there’s Daisy Edgar-Jones’ character (our lead) whose entire setting and interaction with the setting is rooted in her peace and how she works to protect it. Additionally, every move she makes is one faced with a need to protect herself, and speaking up about what it means to be protected. As I sit and write this out, what I start to think about is how her character embodied/symbolized the interaction between human and wildlife—the scurrying, hiding, and those that build familiarity and safety with humans who show consideration, calmness, and immersive ease. This is directly correlated to point #3 that I made. 

Everything that Kya felt for Tate, I also felt which says a lot about this character. Thematically, if piggybacking off of my thoughts about the lead character, Tate was the symbol of those who appreciate and respect nature, and his decisions were about protecting / helping to protect / preserve nature/Kya. He was really a beautifully written character. 

What was unique about the character Chase and his portrayal of protection and protected peace was that it is one that needs to be understood from the opposite end of the discussion. There’s the need to protect our peace in the sense positivity and tranquility, and also protect ourselves from harm; and then there’s the need to protect our peace in the sense of the lifestyle and reputation garnered that aids in a particular social and accepted “peace” we may have, and protect ourselves from perceived threats to that peace and/or the reputation. His character also symbolized “that” side of patriarchy. 

The characters Mabel and Jumpin’ were an extension to Tate, also symbolizing those who preserve and protect nature/Kya. In addition to the character Tom. 

These were some well thought out and delivered characters. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

* * *

Overall #WhereTheCrawdadsSing gives Walter Dean Myers’ Monster – meets Promising Young Woman – meets Pocahontas – meets Avatar – meets Nell. 

First off, shout out to my teacher friend/think partner/default mentor Ms. Steele for introducing me to this book at the start of the school year. I never got a chance to read it, but her love for it encouraged my interest in the film. 

This was honestly a beautifully told story, especially via the characters—another one of the most thematically sound films I’ve watched this year. And the symbolism! MY GOODNESS! So subtle, yet so loud. 

No lie, at first I wasn’t completely enthralled with Daisy Edgar-Jones’ delivery. It wasn’t bad, but I thought it was pretty safe and straightforward—you know, nothing to write home about. However, after really sitting and reflecting on this film, I changed my mind. When it comes to the theme and her character’s symbolism with nature, she gave a pretty strong performance. I wouldn’t be mad if she got an Oscar and/or Golden Globe nomination. 

And I have to say it again…what a moment to be released! Talk about a film that focuses on women’s constant navigating in/of a white, classist, patriarchal world–The fears, vulnerability, betrayal, and inconsistent safety and support… just, wow.

Nice work, Olivia Newman. 

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