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Where the Crawdads Sing Movie Review

Arts And Entertainment

Where the Crawdads Sing Movie Review


*Trigger Warning: This article contains content related to sexual assault and rape.

On July 15, 2022, Sony Pictures released Where the Crawdads Sing, a mystery thriller drama based on Delia Owens’s 2018 novel. The story, set in the 1960s, follows a girl named Kya who grows up in a rickety, wooden cabin in the coastal wetlands of North Carolina. She is abandoned by her family at a young age, and must learn to fend for herself in the murky marsh. She handpicks mussels every morning, and sells them to the nearest market, in order to make enough money to afford her weekly essentials. In her spare time, she ventures into the surrounding wilderness, and sketches the flora and fauna. Throughout the course of the film, Kya pursues two romantic relationships with men from the nearest coastal town. She meets Tate when they are still kids, maneuvering their little speed boats through the mossy waters. Tate and Kya’s friendship gradually evolves into a more intimate, romantic bond, as he teaches her to read and write. When Tate leaves for college he promises Kya he will return to meet her on their favorite beach for the Fourth of July. He didn’t keep his promise; Kya found herself sitting on the shoreline, staring out at the fireworks alone. After some time, Kya meets Chase Andrews. After a long while of dating Chase, Kya comes to find that he has been secretly engaged to another woman. Once Kya discovers this, she flees back to the wetlands. Chase runs after her, meeting her at the shoreline and aggressively asserting that he only wants her. When Kya rejects his contentions, Chase pushes her into the sand, and rapes her. Not long after, Chase’s dead body is found at the foot of a fire tower in the swamp, and Kya becomes the primary suspect in his murder case. The main premise of the film surrounds the progression of the ongoing investigation, court case, and trial.  

Photo by Logan Ferguson

What thoughts does this film provoke? What does it make the viewer think about?

  • Viewers find themselves pondering the experience of living in a small American town during the 1960s. Similarly, the plotline causes audience members to contemplate how they would feel, living alone in a marsh, as a young child, or as an adult. It sparks curiosity regarding current-day marshland inhabitants, like Kya. How many people like Kya are there in America today? Do their kids avoid formal schooling, like she did? As it turns out, according to Water Marks Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protecting, and Restoration News, Native American tribes, Croatian immigrants, and Vietnamese refugees occupy Louisiana’s wetland region. Unfortunately, due to rising sea levels resulting from climate change, these communities may have to relocate, after centuries of inhabitation in these marshes. The film also caused me to consider how rape cases recieved little to no recognition in the 1960s. Support for women in these circumstances was, as a general rule, nonexistent.

What sort of emotional response does the movie enkindle in the viewer?

  • The first word I would use to describe this movie is emotional. The film provokes a vast array of emotions within the viewer. In the beginning, numerous scenes convey the struggle of growing up with an alcoholic and abusive parent. Kya’s relationship with Tate uncovers the emotional pain of falling in love, and then falling out of love, when trust is lost. Additionally, Kya’s extensive amount of time spent alone in the marsh stirs up an emotional response in viewers who are easily triggered by the concepts of isolation or abandonment. The scene in which Kya is sexually assaulted and raped by Chase Andrews induces feelings of discomfort and distress in viewers. Furthermore, positive emotional responses arise from scenes depicting Kya finding oneness with nature, rekindling lost love, and living courageously and independently in the marshland. 

What themes are present in the film?

  • Common literary themes found in Where the Crawdads Sing include the beauty of simplicity, survival, heartbreak, betrayal, reversing power roles, the individual versus the collective, the beauty of nature, and forgiveness. 

What is the movie saying about society?The movie communicates that without an appropriate exemplar of moral standards, people are credulous and ignorant, quick to believe rumors, and make rash judgments about others and situations they know barely anything about. The majority of Kya’s town did not hesitate to automatically point fingers, although hardly a fraction of the population had ever met her in person. They pegged her as guilty from the start, because to everyone who didn’t know her, Kya was nothing more than the lonely “marsh girl” and “swamp rat”. This dilemma highlights society’s natural susceptibility to rumors and conformity.

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