Where the Crawdads Sing

Slightly soggy swamp soap

Kya (Britain’s Daisy Edgar-Jones, excellent), a girl abandoned in her youth and who has raised and educated herself in the marshlands of North Carolina, becomes the prime suspect in the murder near her shabby-chic shack of a man with whom she had once been involved. 

Long a social outcast feared by the redneck townsfolk for her sheer individuality, to most townspeople she’s the obvious culprit. The exceptions are a kindly black couple (Michael Hyatt & Sterling Macer Jr.) who run the local store and the town lawyer who takes up her defense (David Strathairn). 

I read, guiltily enjoyed, and then promptly forgot Delia Owens’s 12-million-selling beach-read source novel. But Olivia Newman’s (First Match) adaptation (from a script by Lucy Alibar), without Owens’s evocative prose, strips the story bare and reveals it for the rather pedestrian, surprise-free courtroom drama that it is. It lacks suspense and substance and, despite the stunning visuals, treads perilously close at times to Nicholas Sparks territory. Read the novel? Maybe see it. Haven’t? No.

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Streaming on Amazon Prime now. (125 min)

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