Scarlett Worthington’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Being alone was a feeling so vast it echoed”
Where The Crawdads Sing seems to fall into the category of book adaptions. A brilliant book gets adapted and makes for a fairly riveting story, enough to get people into cinemas and not walking out, but just ultimately doesn’t translate as well on screen. It’s very much like The Girl On The Train adaptation in my opinion. Other than the engaging story there isn’t much to gain from the film. The difference here was that I read the book before I saw The Girl On The Train so the film was even less effective because I knew what happened, here I didn’t so I was a little more intrigued in my viewing but by the end I was just over it. I could tell what was going to happen even though I hadn’t read the book.
There are these sub-genres of books, that mainly appeal to young women, that include a female protagonist (who granted is usually an admirable figure, a literary heroine type), where the world or situation is often dramatically romanticised even though it is realistically unromantic, but then horrible or tragic events occur within the world and the storyline is very engaging and involves a love interest and a big twist. There is nothing wrong with these books, I for one love them, and I’m sure I’d love this book but this kind of story that follows this pattern just doesn’t work on the screen. There needs to be something more to offer and problems just become so much more vivid when they’re presented on a big silver screen right in front of you. When you’re seeing a girl grow up isolated in a marsh and ultimately have two boys fight over her, who kiss her underwater in this very dirty marsh and she ends up getting her notebooks published extremely easily, you begin to question this world more than appreciate it.
If I am going to try and scramble to find some meaning, I can say that this film highlights how you shouldn’t judge the outsider or ostracise someone simply because they are different. We see it in a fairly specific and intimate form here but it could be applied to a larger social commentary too I guess. However this message, if it was ever intended, isn’t strongly implied and the ending renders it meaningless anyway. Furthermore, the ending was a big disappointment. I knew there was going to be a twist and I was very excited to see what it was going to be, but it ended up being the most predictable twist there could be, so that’s another disappointing feature. There is also this idea that Kya is one with nature in this very poetic way but this again is completely glossed over and not fully explored so it is once again rendered meaningless.
So conclusively, I wouldn’t recommend this film I’m sure your time would be much better spent reading the book, I assume it is the better medium for this story to flourish.