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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Where the Crawdads Sing: The Hollywood Makeover of a Troubling Book

Delia Owens’ 2018 novel Where the Crawdads Sing, with a simple plot attempting to harken back to the court case of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, became a bestseller and caught the attention of mega-producer who scooped up the adaptation rights under her Hello Sunshine production banner, Reese Witherspoon. 

Adapted from Delia Owens’ debut novel, which has sold 12 million copies since its publication, the movie centers around the story of a young woman, Kya also known as “Marsh Girl”, whose identity is mired in spiritual and physical harshness. We meet her for the first time in 1969 when she’s being put on trial for the murder of a young man who has fallen from a six-story fire tower. The question that comes into the mind of the viewers and the jury is whether foul play was involved. If so, then is Kya really the culprit or just a scapegoat, as society has always seen her as an outsider?

The Marshlands of the Fictional North Carolina:

In Where the Crawdads Sing 1st Edition, Owens reverently and vividly describes the marshlands surrounding the fictional North Carolina Town. They are a dangerous setting teeming with wildlife, and toughening the human inhabitants, including the young Kya. Surviving alone after being abandoned by her family, she endures one “stinky-hot” day after the next alone, living in a shack with “greenish-black veins of mildew… in every crevice”.

Shockingly, according to Owens, the marshes look far from the “wasteland bog” in the film adaptation. The opening scenes feature a blue heron rendered in CGI, guiding the camera through all lush green grass and untouched beaches, apparently like an idyllic weekend getaway destination. Moreover, Kya’s shack may as well be an Airbnb furnished by Wayfair, and Kya herself played by Jojo Regina as a child, and by Normal People’s Daisy Edgar-Jones as an adult, who seems rarely touch mud. Her clothes are typically spotless and her hair is photo-shoot-worthy. Hence, no one seems to sweat in the southern heat.

Glossy Hollywood Remake:

Where the Crawdads Sing, like many other big-screen novel-based movies, has received a glossy makeover. The movie, directed by Olivia Newman, softens the brutality of the world of Kya until it looks pleasing enough to be Instagram-worthy. The main plot of the murder mystery which propels the narrative is also dealt the same way. The script focuses on the melodrama of Kya’s romances over the crime for which she is the primary suspect. This allows the director to avoid the apparent moral justifications of the novel, in which the protagonist’s closeness to the land projects her goodness, and her code of survival surpasses human laws. The film also makes the movie look like a Nicholas Spark Project by removing much of the esoteric language used by Owen about Kya’s connection to wildlife. 

Love Triangle:

Similarly, the movie adaptation produced by Reese also tries to simplify the plot of the novel and focuses on the book’s most marketable element which is Kya’s lustful alliances with locals in her teenage years. The film portrays her romances first with Taylor John Smith (Tate), and later with Harris Dickinson (Chase). The former is the sweet, bland, dream boyfriend while the latter is a smarmy nightmare who cannot believe that Kya is able to identify the species of scallops. While focusing on the love triangle, the film breezes past the traumatized story of Kya, a little girl abandoned by her whole family and surviving alone in the marsh. 

Romance- A New Dimension:

Turning Kya’s story into a teenage romance gives Where the Crawdads Sing a new dimension. Of course, the golden-hour soaked, and slick marsh looks perfect, as if the marsh girl is living a fantasy, however, by giving her a voice-over and showing flashbacks when she’s telling her story to her lawyer, the film raises many other questions: What is the appeal of new human connection at all? Why is Kya trying to know anyone else? Why is she doing all this although she has a fear of abandonment? If you want to know the answers to all these questions and want to know how glossy the directors have made the plot of the novel in its film adaptation, then you can read this novel by getting it free from SolutionInn, and find answers to all the moral and emotional dilemmas taking place in the movie. 

Uneeb Khan
Uneeb Khan
Uneeb Khan CEO at blogili.com. Have 4 years of experience in the websites field. Uneeb Khan is the premier and most trustworthy informer for technology, telecom, business, auto news, games review in World.

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