It’s always thrilling when a film sells out and Where The Crawdads Sing felt like a special occasion. Combined with our friendly local cowboy, Shep! singing and a book swap, the audience went home satisfied and in some cases, in floods of emotional tears. Testament to the success of the novel by Delia Owens, most of the audience had read the book.
Our discussion group in Sunnyside Hall was joined by my North Carolina cousins and their friend on Zoom. After a short sound blip, we got into our stride, or strides, in Shep!’s case. My cousin told us that James Taylor’s father had been Dean of the medical school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We like facts like that.
There was some criticism of the 2022 film. It was just “one dimensional fairy tale” said one of the members of our discussion group. It was a “High School fantasy with two boys fighting over the same girl,” said another. Daisy Edgar-Jones, who played the Marsh Girl, looked dressed by Ralph Lauren. Some found the flashbacks a little tiring but enjoyed the trial scenes. A few things irked us – why didn’t the ‘good boyfriend’ keep in touch with the girl he loved? Couldn’t he have written a letter?
One of our American Zoom viewers felt very different. She believed it was a very faithful adaptation of the book, one of the best adaptations from book to film that she had seen.
We talked about the differences between the book and the film, with the land and the marsh being the star of the novel. “It puts you in the place,” said a member of our discussion group. Perhaps that didn’t communicate enough in the film, despite the photography being stunning. The book was stronger on issues of racism, we were told.
We finished by singing Happy Birthday to our American Zoom visitor before she went off for a special meal out.