Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing ★★★★

Impressively executed coming-of-age story has a nice sense of atmosphere and some great performances, the standouts being Jojo Regina as the younger version of the main character, and Michael Hyatt and Sterling Macer Jr. as the shop-owning married couple who take an interest in Kya and become like second parents to her after she has been completely abandoned, guiding her and showing her unconditional love.  The rest of the cast does solid work as well, from Daisy Edgar-Jones as the teenage version of Kya, Taylor John Smith as her first love and best friend who goes away to school without another word to her, Harris Dickinson as the one who woos her but may not be trustworthy, legendary character actor David Strathairn as an Atticus Finch-esque attorney who comes out of retirement to represent her when tragedy ensues and she gets blamed, and the always dependable Garret Dillahunt as her abusive, alcoholic father whose war-torn past has left him a wreck consumed by his bad choices.  
          The directorial beats are strong here, keeping the story moving at a steady clip without sacrificing character development.  It’s very easy to become immersed in its world, as we get to know this brilliant soul across her whole life, who has been left to her own devices, but who with the help of a few along the way has become successful in her own right, even if she’s always been shunned for how different she is from everyone else, when that’s really the thing that makes her truly unique.  An unexpected twist brings the whole thing home effectively.

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