Bestselling film adaptation 'The Song of the Crayfish': Is the film as good as the book?

Cinema & TV

Writed by - Andy Gocker
  Daisy Edgar-Jones in"Der Gesang der Flusskrebse"
Daisy Edgar-Jones in 'Crayfish Song' © © 2022 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. **ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY. SALE, DUPLICATION OR TRANSFER OF THIS MATERIAL IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.**

by Mireilla Zirpins

Over 15 million people have 'The Song of the Crayfish' * read by Delia Owens. The story of the beautiful wild Kya was THE big book hit of the last few years, not least because Hollywood star Reese Witherspoon eagerly banged the drum and also produced the film adaptation - including the title song by Taylor Swift. Now the long-awaited film is coming to the cinemas. And the pressure of expectations is enormous.

  The song of the crayfish - theatrical trailer

'The Song of the Crayfish': Romance, Crime, Coming-of-Age-Drama and much more

The story has ingredients for umpteen novels or films: a love triangle between attractive young people, a crime thriller with a mysterious murder case, a court drama in which the protagonist faces nothing less than the death penalty, a female Robinson story in the enchanted natural setting of the marshland in the US state of North Carolina and a dramatic family story about domestic violence and fear of loss. Because little Kya's father (played by Jojo Regina as a child) hits out whenever he's frustrated. So intense that Kya's mom leaves the family and after her her older siblings too. The seven-year-old learns to avoid her father. Until one day he just doesn't come home anymore.

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Left alone in the marshlands at the age of seven: Kya's fate touches

The girl, who only goes to school for one day, makes her way alone in the remote little house of her parents on the marsh. She finds solace in nature, which has nothing hostile to her, but teaches her to survive and provides her with sustenance. Kya sells clams to the only two people in the neighboring town who don't reject them as neglected. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, she fascinates the young men of Barkley Cove. Two riotous affairs later, village handsome Chase (Harris Dickinson, 'The King's Man') is found dead in the marshlands. The main suspect: Kya (played as a young woman by Daisy Edgar-Jones from 'Normal People'), who had become involved with him. And that's how the film begins.

A murder case with certain parallels to Delia Owen's own story

  Daisy Edgar Jones and David Strathairn in"Der Gesang der Flusskrebse"
Daisy Edgar-Jones and David Strathairn in 'Crayfish Song' © © 2022 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. **ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY. SALE, DUPLICATION OR TRANSFER OF THIS MATERIAL IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.**

Despite the expansive court scenes in the film (David Strathairn plays her old-fashioned lawyer, 'The Expanse'), the story told in flashbacks by Kya, which is otherwise quite close to the book, unfolds a pull, because of course you want to know who did it or whether it was a fatal accident At least if you haven't read the book yet. If you do, think about how The Song of the Crayfish parallels the murder case Delia Owens and her husband are involved in - and find the scene where the author makes a small cameo appearance.

Wet clothes on the beach - kitsch or great cinema?

Of course, the resolution only comes at the very end of the two hours, which definitely feel a bit longer. Unlike the book, the focus is more on the love stories with the guys than on Kya's relationship with Mother Nature. Director Olivia Newman, who has been in the show business with First Match, clearly had doomed to eternity on her mind as she let Kya and Tate (Taylor John Smith) wallow in the surf on the beach, wet in their clothes. But when the colored leaves swirl around the lovers like snowflakes between the last rays of the late summer sun, it looks more like in some Nicholas Sparks films or a Lasse Hallström movie.

Everything a little too clean in 'The Song of the Crayfish'

  Daisy Edgar-Jones als Kya in dem Film"Der Gesang der Flusskrebse", der am Donnerstag (18.08.2022) in die Kinos kommt. Ein kleines Maedchen wird von ihrer Familie zurueckgelassen und lebt fortan als Aussenseiterin in den Marsch- und Sumpflandschaften
The film 'The Song of the Crayfish' hits theaters on Thursday © epd, Michele K. Short, hl

Daisy Edgar-Jones breathes a fragile vulnerability into her Kya. Some fans of the book might have imagined her to be wilder and more self-determined. But one likes to follow her through the beautifully depicted waters of the marshland – pure eye candy. But at the same time there is a catch: For a girl who lives hand to mouth in abject poverty, alone in a (actually too respectable) house without a washing machine, Kya looks too peeled from the egg: In every scene a pretty new sixties outfit, lovingly frayed somewhere or perforated, but always sparkling clean and neat. Is that all supposed to be in the church clothing collection?

Opulent pictures, chic look: more handsome Kya and less nature than in the book

And whether in patched dungarees or in a floor-length white summer dress - apart from a few 'weepy' eyes, for which the make-up artist reached too deep into the red powder, Kya's face and hair are always perfectly casually made up. It's no wonder that at the premiere you could have your hair done in the style of Kya by the stylists of a well-known hairstyling brand. But the poverty, staged in such a telegenic way, is unfortunately much less existential than in the book.

The Song of the Crayfish is a visually appealing film that offers fans of the book a pleasant reunion with familiar characters. One would have wished for a bit more excitement than sweetness in places - and would have liked a little more space for the nature lovingly described by Delia Owens, which acts as a mother substitute in the novel. Not a film for eternity, but one for a warm summer evening.

If you liked 'Crayfish Song' you might also like:

The truth about the Harry Quebert case

Like the 'Crayfish' the film adaptation of a very successful novel that takes place in different time levels. in the literary thriller 'The Truth About the Harry Quebert Case', successful author Harry (Patrick Dempsey) is suspected of having murdered the very young Nola 30 years ago. His young friend and student Marcus (Ben Schnetzer) can't believe it and investigates on his own - especially since he just has time. Because with his own novel it doesn't work that way.

RTL+ – you can stream the film here

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