Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing ★★½

A boring combo of southern gothic, courtroom drama and a love triangle.

The film follows Kya, an outsider in her small town who is accused of murdering one of the town's residents and has to try to defend herself in court.

Well, I guess I'll be nice first and talk on what I liked, that being the cast. The only other thing I've seen Daisy Edgar-Jones in is this year's Fresh, and this proves she's not a one hit wonder. She's pretty good here as our lead, though she's battling a pretty rough script from the jump. It at times tries to be more profound than it really is and then also tries to throw in bits of southern dialect to often hilarious results (I've lived in the southern US my whole life and have never heard people speak the way they do in this movie), but the cast mostly make it work.

I also really liked the setting, but director Olivia Newman fails to do anything interesting with it. The marsh and swamp are dangerous locales, but Newman seems more interested in just showing nature's beauty. That's fine, but the story is a southern gothic, which is meant to show the ugly side of things down here, and they only ever do that in the final scenes of this movie. I've never read the book, so maybe this is accurate to the novel, but I'm not sure.

Still, the thing really holding this one back is the rather meh story. The way I always saw this marketed was as a crime thriller where an outsider is trying to prove her innocence, but that's really only a small fraction of the movie, it's mostly a romance that happens to have a death in it. A really boring romance at that. Newman never imbues this movie with any style and it gives the movie an agonizingly slow pace. It only really picked up for me in the various courtroom scenes interspersed throughout proceedings, but when the most notable part of the movie takes up such a small fraction of the run time, it's hard to recommend.

In the end, after hearing buzz about the book for the last few days or so, I expected more than a melodramatic love triangle movie, but that's all you're really going to get here. Maybe check your expectations at the door.

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