‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ Movie Adaptation Getting Wrecked by Critics

by Alex Falls

One of the year’s most highly anticipated films is being ravaged by critics. Where the Crawdads Sing is based on the popular novel of the same name and comes from young filmmaker Olivia Newman and is produced by Acadamy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon. The novel is one of the best-selling books of all time. So fan anticipation has been palpable since the film was announced.

However, when the film dropped last week the critical reception was less than stellar. Currently, Where the Crawdads Sing has a 34% approval rating from 153 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes indicating largely unfavorable reviews.

Daisy Edgar-Jones stars as protagonist Kya Clark, aka the Marsh Girl. The film follows her as she learns to fend for herself after being abandoned by her family. She spends her life as an outcast, but she becomes romantically involved with a popular football player and then becomes the prime suspect in his murder.

Most reviews have praised the performance of Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya, but the critical consensus at Rotten Tomatoes says the film is “ultimately unable to distill its source material into a tonally coherent drama.”

What Critics Are Saying About Where the Crawdads Sing

Erik Childress of the Movie Madness Podcast described the film as, “the kind of lifeless, misguided adaptation that makes you wonder what anyone saw in the book in the first place. Unless the readers’ visualization imagined ‘Marsh Girl’ as the most camera-ready outsider from the danger-free swamps.”

This assessment is just the tip of the iceberg. Critic reviews have piled on the criticism including from Peter Bradshaw of Guardian who said the film “plays like an all-white reboot of To Kill a Mockingbird with Edgar-Jones somehow getting to play Scout and Tom Robinson at the same time. And the big twist ending is an outrageously evasive cheat.” He also described the film as “gator bait” in which the young star “deserved better.”

“Overall one can’t help but notice that Newman’s adaptation feels too clean, too glossy and too neatly packed to be in any way plausible, even with a fair amount of suspension of disbelief,” wrote Linda Marric of The Jewish Chronicle.

What About Audience Reviews?

Although critics have raked the film over the coals since it was released, fan and audience reception has been much more positive. While the critical response is shockingly negative, audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes currently sit at 96% approval after more than 2500 verified audience reviews.

Most audience members noted the film followed the story of the novel faithfully. One verified user wrote the film, “Follows along with the book. No dirty language. Good story. Actors did great job. Kept my interest throughout the whole movie.”

Another audience member had a nearly polar opposite review of the film versus what critics were saying. He wrote, “Sad and interesting story based on actual events. Very well done. The movie shows very well that we all have a talent in spite of our living conditions. And we shouldn’t be judged based on material possessions.”

Where the Crawdads Sing is now playing in theaters.