Where the Crawdads Sing

By Joanna Langfield

You have to feel for the team tasked with bringing this immensely popular novel to the screen. Because I can’t help but assume this movie will leave fans disappointed. And I’m not quite sure why anyone else would be excited about seeing it at all.

Director Olivia Newman and writer (of the far more interesting Beasts of the Southern Wild) Lucy Alibar try to capture the myriad themes of the book, but wind up with a far more bland product, something along the lines of the old Nicholas Sparks movies. There’s mention of a lot of stuff that might have been (and in my opinion should have been) more vividly explained, perhaps that would have drawn us in to the sad situation of the abandoned girl, growing up on her own in the North Carolina marsh in the 1950’s. But her resourcefulness is just kind of noted. We spend a lot more time seeing how the two hunkiest guys in town can’t resist Kya. And there’s a whole lot of time spent on florid kissing that could have been put toward the plot. Which becomes the most unexciting murder mystery whodunit I’ve seen in years.

On the plus side, the cinematography is nice and both young Jojo Regina and Daisy Edgar Jones do nicely as Kya. I wish they’d been given more to work with. Because this surprisingly lackluster adaptation doesn’t give any of us much to sing about.