Published in 2019, the novel Where the crayfish sing, by American writer Delia Owens, was a great success in bookstores, even appearing on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year. The film that director Olivia Newman made of it unfortunately does not live up to expectations.
Where the Crayfish Sing transports us to North Carolina in the late 1960s. Abandoned by her mother, brother and sisters, who in turn left the family nest to flee her violent father, Kya (Daisy Edgar- Jones) grew up alone in a remote house in the middle of a swamp, earning her the nickname "Swamp Girl" from the locals of the nearest village, Barkley Cove.
Even though the craziest rumors have always swirled about her, Kya doesn't bother anyone at Barkley Cove. But the day the body of a local young man, Chase (Harris Dickinson), is found in the swamp, all suspicion will immediately be directed towards her. Especially since Kya and Chase secretly dated for a while while the latter was engaged to another girl. Fortunately, Kya will be able to count on a benevolent lawyer (David Strathaim) to defend her during her trial.
Navigating between the legal thriller, the sentimental drama and the initiatory narrative, Where the Crawdads Sing (Where the Crawdads Sing, in the original English version) could certainly have been a good film if it had not been treated in such a superficial way and melodramatic.
From the start, it is rather difficult to believe in the fate of this little girl who managed to grow up alone in a dangerous swamp to become a beautiful young woman always well-groomed and dressed in pretty summer dresses. The love triangle at the heart of the story isn't particularly believable either, with the characters of Kya's two suitors being far too entrenched in stereotypes of good and bad.
We can still appreciate the film for the convincing performance of actress Daisy Edgar-Jones (noted before in the formidable series Normal People), but also for the wild beauty of the marshes of the southern United States, filmed with admiration by Oliver Newman.