The Unforgivable Problems of the Movie "Where the Crawdads Sing"

The Unforgivable Problems of the Movie “Where the Crawdads Sing”

There are people who will undoubtedly like the new film Where the Crawdads sing, the gripping murder thriller that hit theaters this weekend. I was not one of them.

Of course, the book it’s based on is incredibly popular. Of course, the main Daisy Edgar-Jones is spellbinding. Of course, the Reese Witherspoon of it all is irresistible. (The Oscar winner produced the film under her Hello Sunshine banner.) But no matter how juicy the mystery at the center of the story is — and it gets pretty intense — I couldn’t shake my unease. in the face of outrageous reporting on Delia Owens, who wrote the book and is wanted for questioning in an actual murder. I also couldn’t get past the uncomfortable and somewhat crude relationship at the center of the film.

This romance in Where the Crawdads sing depends on Tate (Taylor John Smith) – a smart, kind and handsome young boy – teaching Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) to read and write. There are obvious scenes of a savior complex with Tate, which finds their educational dynamic titillating in a way that I found truly off-putting. Although their sex scenes are steamy and they have great chemistry, there’s no reason for Tate to fall for the wild swamp woman. She has no personality other than being gorgeous, broken and needing his help.

It is impossible to sympathize with this couple when this man fetishizes infantilism. Similar to stranger things‘ Mike and El (who can’t communicate with humans in the show’s first season) felt restless watching a man carve out an entire human life for his wife, seemingly just so he could fit in her pants . Or because he was “in love”. But how can you be in love with someone who can barely communicate with you? That’s one gripe with the movie that I never got over.

But it’s not just Tate helping Kya to Where the Crawdads sing– a whole squadron of inhabitants of Barkley Cove gathers around her. At a young age, her family abandons her, leaving her with an abusive father (Garret Dillahunt), though he soon leaves her too. Now she’s on her own, fending for herself in the Carolina swamps, selling mussels to get by.

When we first met her at the beginning of Where the Crawdads sing, she is arrested for murder. We don’t know if she committed the crime. To this mysterious core, Where the Crawdads sing thoroughly entertained. It’s no wonder the book has become so popular. But as exciting as it is, it’s littered with problematic issues.

Let’s start with Kya, the film’s main problem. We’re supposed to sympathize with Kya because she has, since a young age, been “on her own” – but that’s just not true. Kya manages by relying on those around her who find her cute and beautiful. Local store owners Mabel and Jumpin’ (Michael Hyatt and Sterling Macer Jr.) keep her alive by offering her shoes, clothes, and food in exchange for half-full bags of mussels.

Then there is the murder case. One of Kya’s abusive ex-lovers is found dead at the base of the town’s watchtower, possibly from a fatal thrust. We don’t know if she committed the crime, but Kya apparently has no chance of winning. Her shell necklace, the one she had made for him, has disappeared. She has an alibi, but that doesn’t stop the town from gossiping suspiciously.

Most of the townspeople have always hated her – except for the elite handful that keep her alive –and his DNA was found on the murder victim. Yet a trusty old lawyer (a charming David Strathairn, whom I want to be my grandfather now) takes over his case. Kya does nothing. She is a little grateful, but not enough. Then there’s the bizarre situation with Tate, her half-teacher, half-lover.

The world of Barkley Cove revolves around Kya, whether he hates her or loves her. Maybe I’m running into the point of the story – looking out for each other, no matter our backgrounds, no matter our differences – by slamming the girl, but that’s not her fault. Blame it on the story, which tries to portray her as noble and strong, when she, in fact, needs a lot of help.

It’s also the fault of Delia Owens, the author of the original book. Many people read the original novel when it was selected for Reese Witherspoon’s book club and haven’t heard of the murder that might have influenced the novel. No, Delia Owens is not wanted for murder. But she’s wanted examination in a 1990 murder case in Zambia.

An article by Slate published under the title Where the Crawdads sing novel that exploded in popularity in 2019 details the murder to which Owens’ name was attached. In 1990, says Slate’s article, the author’s husband, Mark Owens, was allegedly responsible for the murder of a poacher, alongside his stepson. The murder was covered up. It is impossible to ignore the similarities between the film – in which for years a murder is concealed – and this case.

But Witherspoon chose the novel for a reason. (I’m curious if the couple are still talking, a question I would have asked if Owens showed up the Q+AI attended and she gave up. We have free popcorn and Where the Crawdads sing coloring books instead.) The story is gripping, incredibly cinematic, and fun to watch. I felt a little bad hugging the seat next to me: I had qualms because I understood the unsavory background behind the film, but I was still engrossed in the story.

Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya has a tough job, playing a complicated and enigmatic character for several years of her life. Although it’s impossible to sympathize with her, Edgar-Jones does a survivor character study as well as Tom Hanks in Castaway or Mary Elizabeth Winstead in 10 Cloverfield Lane. If there’s anything to take away from this deeply troubled film, it’s that Edgar-Jones was made to be a movie star. Throw it into everything.

But haven’t we already learned that from normal people? If the point of seeing Where the Crawdads sing is to watch a spellbinding Edgar-Jones, stay home and rewatch the Sally Rooney saga instead. Sure, the story is gripping, but it’s as good a crime movie as any. Read the summary from Wikipedia, then read all about Delia Owens. There is absolutely no reason to give your money to Where the Crawdads sing.


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