WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (2022)
Devoid of genuine emotion and struggling to find a beat from start to finish, Where the Crawdads Sing’s potential gets buried in cringeworthy dialogue and wooden acting, overcome only by the talents of Daisy Edgar-Jones.
Based on the hit novel, Where the Crawdads Sing follows Kya (Edgar-Jones), raised on the marshlands and left on her own for years, as she finds herself accused of murder and thrust into the small town’s public spotlight. As beloved as the source material is, it’s a shame that it finds itself brought to life via a shallow, lifeless vehicle that becomes slower and slower as the film roles along. The significant developments of the plot are intended huge moments that are delivered in forgettable fashion, failing to capitalize on the underlying emotion with a script that is messy at best. If it weren’t for the beautiful cinematography, Where the Crawdads Sing would be a solid suggestion for those struggling with insomnia.
The themes of rejection and independence are present, as are additional spoiler-ripe topics that arrive later in the film, but each is introduced and left to float away without care. Edgar-Jones carries the film on her very capable back, delivering the sometimes laughable lines she’s given with conviction and rescuing her sometimes floundering costars. I can understand how the story may have been riveting on the page, but on the screen it doesn’t make an impact. I don’t think it all rests on the shoulders of first-time director Olivia Newman, either; she does her best with the cards she’s dealt, but the script is just a jumbled mess of sometimes competing stories that distract from the overall intent. It simply doesn’t work, a cataclysmic failure for what should have been a sure-thing. I imagine those who enjoy the novel will find more positive in this Reese Witherspoon project, but even they may be few and far between.
Where the Crawdads Sing hits theaters Friday.
Photo from Sony Pictures