Where The Crawdads Sing Movie Review: Dreamy, Gorgeous, and Ever So Dull | Hollywood


The only thing to know about dreams is that they are not real. So when things start to look a little too beautiful, too surreal, too dreamy, the human mind naturally pulls them away from reality. Now, I’m all for watching stunning visuals, pretty dresses, gorgeous movie stars on screen, but that comes at the cost of credibility. And sorry, but I’m not buying Daisy Edgar-Jones, in all her cute outfits, perfect hair and idyllic home, trying to sell me on abject poverty, abandonment, trauma and child abuse. (Also read: Beast movie review: Idris Elba battles a lion and common sense in Hollywood’s latest survival drama)

Filmed in the prettiest swamp you could imagine, Where The Crawdads Sing is an adaptation of Delia Owen’s best-selling novel and is set in 1950s and 1960s North Carolina. It features the story from childhood to death of a woman, Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones), who was abandoned by her abused mother, abusive father and frightened siblings at a very young age. She must have raised herself by selling fresh mussels from the swamp she inhabits. She doesn’t have the skirts, the shoes, or the strength to fight off bullies at her school, which means she also grows up illiterate. However, she has a knack for painting pretty pictures of anything and everything she finds in this swamp.

The scenes are full of shades of swampy greens, blue water, white sand, and the colorful creatures she likes to draw. Almost every scene is perfect, including the shades of her dresses, too pretty to have been found in a church’s pile of donations. The house she lives in, all by herself, without a grain of food or even electricity, looks like every cottagecore lover’s dream. Amidst all these cute scenes, it’s easy to forget that the young girl hasn’t eaten in days and survives on manual labor every day. It’s easy to forget that this is a story of isolation and abandonment and that shouldn’t make you jealous of how slow it was.

Of course, there’s the murder plot that kicks off the story. Alongside flashbacks to Kya’s life story in the 1950s, there’s also a trial for the murder of her boyfriend (Harris Dickinson) in 1969. The uncanny similarity to Delia Owen’s own life is also quite scheming (curator Delia is also wanted for questioning in manslaughter). She is the prime suspect in the case and is helped by the local attorney, one of only three people in the entire town to be nice to her. In true Veer Pratap Singh style, she recites her biography to neighbor lawyer Rani Mukerji, recalling her dates with all the toxic men who ruined her life, starting with her father.

An image from Where The Crawdads Sing.

Women are slapped, hit, beaten in black and white at several points in its history. Kya regains hope and loses all hope, sometimes all at once and sometimes over months and years. Through it all, Daisy makes sure she doesn’t get it wrong. She’s able to sell the reclusive, nature-loving entertainer quite convincingly, but it’s the supporting cast that doesn’t seem to be on the same page. From oldies chatting animatedly about being “marsh-girl” at a bar or boyfriends being either too nice or too cruel without softening the transition, the supporting cast haven’t been given the memo to tone it down.

While the trial will bring a weird taste of To Kill A Mockingbird back to your mouth, not in a good way, the overall movie should have been more The Devil All The Time than a big dose of The Notebook. A few might also not like how the movie solves the murder mystery at the end, but the lack of visual narrative kind of worked for me. No one goes all Hercule Poirot, recounting the killer’s methodology with a dimly lit flashback sequence. The tone of the reveal suited the rest of the film, but your reaction will depend on whether it was a moody piece for you before it was a whodunit.

Overall, bit confusing Where the Crawdads Sing had to come back to the moodboard multiple times before the final product was sanctioned. You can be Gehraiyaan, The Notebook, To Kill A Mockingbird, or The Devil All The Time, but ideally not all of the above all at once.


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