Back in 2019 I read the book Where the Crawdads Sing (read my book review here), and loved it. I was dubious about seeing the movie since I felt it would be hard to do the book justice, especially with the twist at the end. Thankfully, I overcame my own skepticism, and went to see it last night. Maybe it’s just because I went in with low expectations, but I thought it was really well done.
Since I knew what was supposed to happen, I can’t speak to how someone would respond to the film who didn’t know the upshot of the storyline. But the cinematography, the music, the drawings, all were gorgeous, and the courtroom drama aspect was balanced with the rest of it.
This story is a bit of a social commentary, a fact that some detractors might not like. The abusive, entitled male doesn’t come out very well in this story, nor in life for that matter. The message basically is that nature doesn’t tolerate bullies, because survival is mission number one. While bullies think they’re running things, brains over brawn will win in the end. That sounds about right to me.
Also, the people that were nice to the Marsh Girl were either hurt (Tate having lost his mother and sister in an accident) or were also marginalized in some way themselves (the kind black couple who helped her). Compassion and loving generosity makes living tenable, both in this story, and in the wild. Those that are down generally are the ones that help others that are down. I especially appreciated her lawyer, since he was an exception to this general rule.
This was an excellent, atmospheric book, which yes is better than the movie, but I’m pleased to report that the movie was fairly faithful to it, if not quite as revealing or suspenseful. Other reviewers have ranked it poorly, saying it lagged or was tepid; I did not find it so. I give this movie 5 stars.