For years, my family moved like gypsies from one military base to the next, presenting me with the constant task of figuring out how to not become an outcast. Being a nerdy little black girl, who had the fortunate misfortune of being exposed to a multitude of cultures in America turned out to be more challenging than I could’ve ever imagined. Yet, somehow I adjusted and learned to rise above it all by making the best of a really uncomfortable situation time and time again.
Abandoned as a girl, Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) raised herself in the dangerous marshlands of North Carolina. For years, rumors of the “marsh girl” haunted Barkley Cove, isolating the sharp and resilient Kya from her community.
The scariest thing in the world is to open yourself beyond your comfort zone. It takes courage and a certain type of resilience that is not for the weak of mind. Kya overcomes the pain of every single member of her family abandoning her, being made fun of at school and having untruths spun on a daily basis, yet she still somehow finds the capacity to love despite the odds.
Daisy Edgar-Jones is a hurricane of epic proportions as Kya. She provides so much color, depth and nuance to the character that as an audience you will have an overwhelming need to protect her from any and everything. She never skips a beat and her co-stars Taylor John Smith (Tate Walker) and Harrison Dickinson (Chase Andrews) are rolling with her in the best way possible. Each of them brings their own brand of charismatic sensitivity in more ways than one which compliments Daisy’s every step.
Directed by Olivia Newman, based on the novel by Delia Owens and adapted for the screen by Lucy Alibar it is not lost on me that this film is female heavy on the creative side with Reese Witherspoon’s “Hello Sunshine” as producers. Where the Crawdads sing is deceptively creative. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, another twist or turn popped me upside the head and threw me completely for loop right up until the very last second. There are so many lessons regarding bullying as a child or adult recognizing that it comes in forms going beyond the physical. It delves into the complexity and confusion of young love, yet illustrates how it can make an individual grow bitter or become empowered through the pain. Making our heroine a nature nerd is such a great narrative rather than opting for a scary chick that lives in the woods and is one of the reasons you root for Kya to succeed by any means necessary.
Where the Crawdads Sing is a tad bit predictable in a few spots, but for the most part it will send you home with your head spinning from all the detours taken along the way to share Kya’s tale of determination, destiny and what happens when a woman follows her gut instead of her heart. The finale of this film will take you for a loop, but it is well worth the ride.