‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ Movie Review: Beauty, Light and Darkness Within Them

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A brilliant Daisy Edgar-Jones, the spectacular visuals of life in a swamp, and narration with a strong grip on the text contribute to this rather simple story.

A brilliant Daisy Edgar-Jones, the spectacular visuals of life in a swamp, and narration with a strong grip on the text contribute to this rather simple story.

There is a rhythm with which Where the Crawdads sing stream, which feels like reading a book. The frames are soft as paper, the staging evokes the half-light of the pages of a lost book, and the smallest details are written in broad strokes. But the frames don’t float when they spin. Lucy Alibar’s screenplay of this Olivia Newman-directed film has the right measured pace to tell a rather simple story that’s aided by beautiful shots of a lonely life in a swamp. The film is filled with textual and visual metaphors and just enough subversion to add more flavor.

Where the Crawdads sing

Director:Olivia Newman

Cast: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, Michael Hyatt

Duration: 126 minutes

Script: Follows the life of a lonely girl who lives in a swamp. Abandoned by her family and isolated by the townspeople, Kya survives on her own, but things change when a young man enters her life.

In 1969, Catherine “Kya” Danielle Clark (played by a brilliant Daisy Edgar-Jones), a mysterious girl who lives in a swamp in Barkley Cove, North Carolina, is tried for the murder of Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson), a young man from the nearby town. From prison, Kya begins to tell the story of who she really is. In 1953, as a young girl, Kya (Jojo Regina) witnesses her mother abandoning her children to get away from her abusive husband. In the months that follow, Kya’s three siblings also abandon him, and the child must now live in his father’s shadow, until he too leaves. Kya must now fight, thrive and learn to live on her own. The narrative swings between how the case unfolds in the courtroom and Kya’s life up to, but Where the Crawdads sing is not a legal drama.

It is primarily a romantic coming-of-age drama that is also about nature’s relationship with humans, the irony and artificiality of the world of men, the darkness of nature and men, etc. Abandoned by her family and cut off from the townspeople – who despise her existence, spread rumors and tell stories about “The Marsh Girl” – the swamp is all she holds dear. The swamp nurtures and comforts her in ways only she could know. Raised in isolation and told to beware of the dangers that come with it – ironically from the man who showed how men trash women’s lives – Kya must be wary of the townspeople. This, of course, is slowly changing, for better and for worse.

Over the years, Kya finds herself two love interests; the sweet, blue-eyed Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith) and the young, manipulative, controlling and unstable Chase Andrews. Both men enter Kya’s life in similar ways, and they both intentionally or inadvertently hurt Kya, but there’s something darker inside Chase that we can’t put our finger on. departure. Yes, he comes across as a sweet boy who wants to get into Kya’s pants, but there’s also something darker and predatory about him. Even the colors of the suits he wears—the colors are played throughout the film—show him as darkness stepping into light. It is commendable that even in the portrayal of these two men, the text stays true to its theme and speaks to the duality of nature.

What is most spectacular is how the script shows the cyclical nature of the lives of people like Kya. While the apparent is what is shown visually as Kya realizes how her mother felt when she left, the one the film allows us to decipher is how Kya and her father are creatures of this world that operate at two extremes. ; to survive, you have to go to the other side. Likewise, it’s also nice to see how feathers and shells are used symbolically throughout the film. Kya believes that every living thing in the swamp is one with her, and having lived among them all her life, love for these beings is beyond fascination with nature’s creations. She is also a gifted artist who can impeccably sketch the fauna and flora of the marsh. Thus, a blood-red pigmented shell could end up in a bloody scene, bird feathers are used to symbolize a distinct courtship behavior that exists in certain species of birds, and his sketches become a symbol of hope.

Thanks to the beautiful cinematography (by Polly Morgan), production design and color grading, every frame looks like a painting. There’s something ethereal about this world Kya lives in, and interestingly, these shots are most often shown when Kya is in a place of comfort. The sequence in which Tate takes her on her birthday to show off a flock of snow geese is easily one of the prettiest scenes. Although the dialogues are measured and, sometimes, very poetic, not all of them help the development of the scenario.

Certain lines of Kya, supposed to make us think of the unimaginable state of his existence, bring a certain surrealism which does not necessarily confuse you, but reminds us that the world which you are witnessing is only a simple construction which reflects a world real. While it’s commendable how the film tells a vital message against social exclusion and the frivolous complexities of modern society, it doesn’t delve deeper into the issues. Also, while we’re seeing the whole movie from Kya’s perspective, it might not be your first choice of a good character study.

Where the Crawdads sing may not be a perfect movie, but it’s one that will make you crave such well-paced storytelling and ample doses of heartfelt moments. But don’t leave too quickly because it’s a film that tells a story until the end. Moments before the screen darkens, a certain darkness creeps in; the darkness that we were always aware of, the darkness behind which the blinding beauty of it all hid. It’s like someone just finished reading a book to you, but you can still hear the whispers…

Where The Crawdads Sing is currently running in theaters

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