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Dr. Steve Haines

23 jul. 2022

Where The Crawdads Sing (2022)

Where The Crawdads Sing is predominately set in 1960s North Carolina. Since my dad’s family emigrated to the US and he spent his formative years in North Carolina during this time period, its fair to say I carry a geographical and chronological bias into this movie.

While this film surrounds a crime and courtroom proceedings, behind the legal shenanigans is a coming of age story of a young girl, Kya, faced with discrimination, fear, confusion and isolation. I will not post any spoilers. A young girl facing learning self-sufficiency all while learning to read and facing the maelstrom of adolescence set in a beautiful backdrop of humid forested marshland makes for a “growing up” drama with the marked difference of an orphan facing life alone out in the wilds. This textured and nuanced story is then interwoven with the few personal interactions Kya has including the discovery of a dead body that may, or may not, be accidental.

As a body of work, it is engaging, well-paced and incredible to look at. Some of the set pieces seem a little trite and slightly formulaic but not so much that it detracts from the story. But clearly in a story of isolation and growing up alone, the film spends large portions with just one character on screen so it’s a massive compliment to Daisy Edgar-Jones who brings Kya to life with a simmering restraint that perfectly encapsulated the fear of the world that Kya wants to hide from people. Her wide expressive eyes help tell the story and sometimes it verges towards “rabbit in the headlights”, but given that Edgar-Jones carries the film almost single handed, any minor gripes in the face of such a warm and engaging performance feels like nit picking.

Overall, this crime/coming of age/discrimination drama is a beautiful film, fine performances throughout but particularly Daisy Edgar-Jones breathe life into a tale that could, in less capable hands, could have meandered somewhat but ends up being a great watch and a very worthwhile use of your time.

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