The 2022 American film Where the Crawdads Sing, based on the 2018 murder-mystery novel of the same name by Delia Owens, premiered on July 15, 2022. The film is directed by Olivia Newman from a screenplay written by Lucy Alibar and is produced by Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter. The film stars Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, Michael Hyatt, Sterling Macer, Jr., and David Strathairn.
It follows the story of Kya, a young woman who is raised in the marshes of North Carolina. After the death of her mother, Kya is left to fend for herself and quickly learns how to survive in the wild. However, when a man she was once involved with is found dead in the marshes, Kya becomes the prime suspect. The film explores Kya’s journey as she tries to clear her name and find out who really killed the man. Along the way, Kya must grapple with her own feelings of guilt and loneliness, as well as the prejudice of those who think she is guilty. Where the Crawdads Sing is a moving story about love, loss, and justice.
Common Sense Media reviewed Where the Crawdads Sing and commended the themes portrayed in the film saying, “And while the movie can be overly sentimental, there are some lovely sequences, usually between Edgar-Jones and Smith. It also has notable messages about the importance of nature, love, and treating the disenfranchised with respect and dignity.”
If you liked Where the Crawdads Sing, here are five movies with similar themes and tones that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Kill Your Darlings
Kill Your Darlings is a 2013 American biographical drama film written by Austin Bunn and directed by John Krokidas in his feature film directorial debut. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, and Ben Foster. It tells the story of the college days of some of the earliest members of the Beat Generation. Lucien Carr, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac were all highly influential writers and thinkers, and their interactions with one another played a major role in shaping the course of the Beat movement. In addition, the film chronicles Carr’s killing of his long-time friend David Kammerer in Riverside Park in Manhattan, New York City. While the act was certainly a tragedy, it also served as a galvanizing force for the young writers, who went on to create some of the most important and influential works of the 20th century.
In a review by Rolling Stone, they gave particular praise to the lead performances saying, “Ginsberg’s erotic yearning for Carr is palpable. Radcliffe nails every tortured nuance in the role, and DeHaan is stellar, displaying a charm that is both seductive and cruel.”
The 2016 American thriller film American Fable is about an 11-year-old girl named Gitty who discovers a man who can grant wishes hiding in her family’s silo. When she is forced to choose between saving the man’s life and protecting her family, she must make a difficult decision. The film stars Peyton Kennedy, Richard Schiff, Kip Pardue, Marci Miller, Gavin MacIntosh, and Zuleikha Robinson. Directed by Anne Hamilton, American Fable is a gripping tale that will leave audiences thinking long after the credits have rolled.
Variety published a review of the film giving special mention to its similarity with Pan’s Labyrinth and wrote, If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, then writer-director Anne Hamilton’s “American Fable” registers as an eloquently constructed valentine to Guillermo del Toro, whose “Pan’s Labyrinth” provides her film with its haunting backbone.
Very similar to Where the Crawdads Sings‘ plot about finding justice is the Australian mystery drama film Jasper Jones, directed by Rachel Perkins. The film was released in 2017 and is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Craig Silvey. It stars Levi Miller, Angourie Rice, Aaron L. McGrath, and Toni Collette. The film follows the life of Charlie Bucktin, a bookish 14-year-old, whose life changes suddenly the night Jasper Jones, the town’s outcast, shows him the dead body of Laura Wishart. Jasper has been blamed for her murder, and he knows that he will be lynched if he is caught by the townspeople. Charlie agrees to help Jasper clear his name, and together they embark on a journey to uncover the truth about what happened to Laura. The movie is a coming-of-age story about two unlikely friends who must confront the pain of their pasts in order to move forward.
The Guardian commended the film in their review and wrote, “It’s compelling as a whodunnit, touching as a coming-of-age story, insightful as a picture of race relations and crafty as a drama about secrets, concealing a few of its own for a final, satisfying reveal.”
A Mouthful of Air
A Mouthful of Air is a 2021 American psychological drama film written, directed, and produced by Amy Koppelman. It stars Amanda Seyfried, Finn Wittrock, Jennifer Carpenter, Michael Gaston, Amy Irving, and Paul Giamatti. It follows Julie Davis, a successful children’s book author who seems to have it all together. But beneath the surface, she’s struggling. A Mouthful of Air explores the mental health of new motherhood through the eyes of one woman’s fight to keep herself afloat. Seyfried delivers a raw and honest performance as Julie Davis, a package deal of humor and sorrow who grabs you by the throat from the first frame and doesn’t let go. The film is a timely exploration of maternal mental health that will leave you feeling seen, heard, and not quite so alone.
The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the film describing the core elements of the film saying, “The close-ups of Seyfried that Koppelman and cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco rely on are studies in masked emotion, and the essence of the film.”
Lost Girls is a 2020 American mystery drama film based on the book Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker. The film was directed by Liz Garbus and stars Amy Ryan as real-life activist Mari Gilbert. The film revolves around the murders of young female sex workers on the South Shore barrier islands of Long Island, committed by the Long Island serial killer, who remains unidentified. Lost Girls also stars Thomasin McKenzie, Lola Kirke, Oona Laurence, Dean Winters, Miriam Shor, Reed Birney, Kevin Corrigan, and Gabriel Byrne. In addition to being a gripping mystery, Lost Girls is a powerful exploration of the ways in which our society fails to protect its most vulnerable members. Lost Girls is a must-see for anyone interested in true crime or social justice. It is an important film that sheds light on a very dark corner of our society.
Variety published a review of the film comparing it to other mystery dramas saying, “Lost Girls” is built around an aggrieved mother’s obsession to learn, at any cost, what happened to her child, and it may remind you of other mystery dramas rooted in the squalid dangers of the sex industry — earnest (and slyly exploitative) my-daughter-was-a-hooker TV movies, Hollywood thrillers both good and bad.”