WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING
* * * *
(Adapted from Delia Owens’ powerful novel)
Even if you see this powerful movie, you still need to read the book about a young girl who grows up in the bayous by herself, facing the prejudices of the “normal” townsfolk.
While the novel gets inside Kya’s head and deals with her emotions, the movie concentrates more on the teenage love affair and the “Marsh Girl” accused of murder and her ultimate trial.
The big pluses in the movie are the wonderful shots of the bayou and the birds and animals that inhabit it.
Daisy Edgar-Jones plays the teenage/young adult Kya, having been abandoned at a young age by her parents and siblings, left to fend for herself in a small cabin on the banks of Barkley Cove.
The chronology of events is different from the book, as we learn at the outset that a teenage boy has been found dead in the swamp and assumed to have been murdered.
The Marsh Girl is suspected, arrested and held in jail (a devastating experience for this free-spirited soul).
Retired lawyer Tom Milton (David Strathairn) defends her.
While the trial takes up a good portion of the movie, it is the flashbacks dealing with Kya’s early years – followed by her solitary years living and surviving – that are most interesting and inspiring.
She is befriended by the Black couple who run the modest local store, harassed by the locals, both young and old, abandoned by her first love, abused by her second and threatened to be driven off her land.
Kya shows up for school with no shoes, harassed by her fellow students, and never returns. Tate, a local boy heading off to college, befriends her and teaches her to read. She becomes a self-made artist of the flora and fauna of the area.
The trial often gets in the way of the better moments of the amazing story of a young survivor who overcomes adversity.
Seeing it on the big screen with the sounds of nature brings the book to life.
MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS
* * * ½ (Joyce) * * * (Don)
I won’t say this is a “woman’s movie,” but I was the only male in the theatre. And I will say that a movie about fashion isn’t my favorite subject. Despite that, the performance by Lesley Manville as Ada Harris, as a British house cleaner is absolutely charming.
Set in the 50s, the movie shows the major class differences that existed in both England and Paris.
Ada was a dreamer. Living modestly, she was a lover of high couture and dreamed of having a Christian Dior dress, even if her only chance to wear it was in her small flat.
Saving her money, plus having a little luck, she accumulates enough to travel to Paris and bid on a dress at the House of Dior.
Ada takes Paris by storm, both charming some of the Dior employees and being scoffed at by the upper class customers. Isabelle Huppert, the only actress we recognized, plays the haughty manager.
Ada befriends the Dior accountant, helping him in his courtship with Leslie, one of the models, plus an upper class marquis who shows her the finer points of Paris, in contrast to the garbage strike that has crippled the city.
Ada gets involved in a labor dispute and even gives Christian Dior a lesson in employee relations.
The film is made better by the wonderful Leslie Manville. Joyce liked it a bit more, but I won’t call it a woman’s movie.
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