Run time: 125 mins
For any filmmaker, the act of translating a text to screen is a challenge not undertaken lightly. Spare a thought, then, for Olivia Newman, director of the adaptation of Delia Owens’ 15 million-copy-bestseller Where the Crawdads Sing.
Its tale of injustice, judgement, and the need for connection is one utterly engrossing regardless of its medium. There are two co-existing narratives: one, of a young girl, who is forced to live a solitary existence after her abusive upbringing ends, and the other of her as a young woman whose innocent exploration of first love results in a vicious local whisper-network accusing her of murder.
Rendering the North Carolina marshland in all its muddy, mossy glory, Newman takes on its layered narrative with carefully-curated gusto. With Normal People’s Daisy Edgar Jones offering an appropriately doe-eyed and skittish performance to boot, the tensions, subtleties, and symbolism that Owens generates with her masterful prose are in no way diluted in this visual iteration.
With two of its most famous fans Reese Witherspoon and Taylor Swift contributing to its production, it’s a truly immersive work that’s the epitome of a passion project.