‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ Soars, Excites Audience

Newman combines history and romance in movie


Sonia Lerner, Contributing Writer

The movie adaptation of Where The Crawdads Sing, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Taylor John Smith, hit theaters mid-July. Critics say that Edgar-Jones fell short in terms of doing justice to main character Kya, and I would agree, but would still highly recommend the film nonetheless.

The movie opens with Catherine Danielle Clark, more commonly known as Kya, being named as the top suspect for the murder of her ex-boyfriend, Chase Andrews. As she awaits trial after being arrested, the movie reveals her difficult upbringing in the marshlands of North Carolina through flashbacks. After watching her family slowly abandon her, she takes up spending time in the marsh, and while doing so befriends and eventually dates Tate Walker, a friend of her older brother. However, her happiness doesn’t last long as Tate goes off to college, leaving Kya with only a list of publishers, urging her to publish her drawings and studies of the marsh. Kya later engages in a romantic relationship with Chase Andrews, but after going on a trip to meet her publisher, she returns to find Chase dead and her at the top of the suspect list. Kya is put through trial and is found not guilty. She gets back together with Tate and the two grow old together. The movie ends with Tate looking through Kya’s things following her death, and finds Chase’s shell necklace, a missing piece of evidence from the crime scene, proving that she killed him after all.

I read the book Where The Crawdads Sing, by Deliah Owens, just weeks prior to seeing the movie adaptation, and was overall impressed with the film’s take on it. The lack of a few details caused a decline to the overall impact of the story, but were compensated by the noteworthy directing. The book took more care in proving Kya’s innocence and making the viewer root for her not guilty verdict so that the reveal of her guilt is an even bigger surprise. The lack of such in the movie weakened the plot twist for me, taking away from the overall impression of Kya’s character. However, the movie was so visually appealing that I almost couldn’t be mad about the plot’s decline, as I was mesmerized by the set with every new scene. 

Throughout the movie, I loved watching Kya and Tate’s relationship unfold, and felt that them ending up together was the happy ending I needed after finding out that Kya got away with murder. Their friendship begins as they exchange feathers from various birds over the course of a few weeks without ever seeing each other, which I felt added to the genuinity of their relationship, as they didn’t even need to know what the other looked like to develop a bond. Additionally, Tate doesn’t resent Kya after learning that she murdered Chase, adding to the strength of their relationship. I really appreciated how the writers kept their relationship as central and important to the film as they did, because it was one of my favorite parts of the book and I was so happy to see it play out on screen.

I would highly recommend Where The Crawdads Sing to anyone, even if only remotely interested. It was such a beautiful representation of an abandoned life turned meaningful, an adorable love story, and a attention-grasping murder case all in one.