Wednesday, September 21, 2022

(Non-French) Movie Wednesday


I finally got around to watching the film adaptation of Delia Owens's 2018 hit novel Where the Crawdads Sing, this past weekend. I read the book in galley as part of the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize; I've been a first-line reader for them for several years and I think that 2018 was my first year participating. I didn't review the book here but I remember enjoying it, a crime novel/melodrama about a sweet little lamb of a young woman living in the marshes of North Carolina who is accused of killing the town jerk/hottie by a sheriff who railroads her with a truly convoluted theory of the crime. Owens's writing hits that spot between popular and literary fiction- beautifully descriptive in some places, fairly pedestrian in others- and features a heroine who also ticks a lot of boxes- beautiful, gifted, abused and neglected, and finally victimized, first by a man and then by the whole community. Or is she?

What a setup.

The movie is about as good as it could have been with that material. It looks great- gorgeous scenery featuring blue skies, beaches, trees, the glory of the outdoors, all replicating Owens's lush descriptions. The actors look like they fit the part too. It-girl Daisy Edgar-Jones, late of Hulu's Normal People and Under the Banner of Heaven, is perfect for the role of Kya, the aforementioned America's Sweetheart protagonist. She played victims of various kinds in those productions, too. Maybe that's her schtick. Anyway she's pretty and makes her character pitiable and appealing. The two guys are kind of nonentities- the good one is blond, the bad one is darkhaired- and David Straitharn shows up as the kindly town lawyer who takes her case.

Like I said the movie is a solid adaptation of the book, faithful and true, and fans of the book will not encounter any surprises. Pretty to look at but kind of vacant, I enjoyed it for what it was- a pretty distraction- but that was it for me.

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