Where the Crawdads Sing is a 2022 American drama movie based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Delia Owens. The movie is directed by Olivia Newman from a script by Lucy Alibar and 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.
Where Crawdads Sing ends with Kya being found not guilty by the jury. She is released and moves on with her life, reuniting with Tate and hanging out in the swamp like she always did. Kya writes several more books that come out over the years and is reunited with the rest of her siblings. Kya comes of age and dies on his boat in the swamp. It is only after her death that partner Tate Walker – because she left the seashell necklace in the book – realizes that Kya really did kill Chase Andrews. Now, know about the Where The Crawdads Sing movie.
Where The Crawdads Sing: Movie Synopsis
Catherine “Kya” Clark is a resourceful young girl growing up in the 1950s in the swamps of coastal North Carolina. Her poor family lives in a shack with her alcoholic and violent father who loses their money. As her mother and older siblings, one by one, flee his abuse, Kya is left alone with him.
Over time, her father softens but then abandons her without warning a few weeks after the only day she’s ever spent at school. Now, at seven years old, she is all alone, but she is learning to survive, and the only way to earn money to buy gas for the boat and food is to sell shells. The townspeople of Barkley Cove know little about Kye and nickname her “The Marsh Girl”.
On the same day her father left, Kya drives her boat all the way to the ocean and turns around, only to get lost trying to find her way home. Fortunately, she runs into a slightly older boy named Tate Walker, who leads her home safely. He was a friend of her older brother Jodie and had known Kyu since she was a child. Tate then starts visiting her in the swamp and they become good friends as they grow up.
He teaches her to read, write and count and even lends her books. The two share an interest in nature and eventually begin a romantic relationship. However, Kya is once again left behind when Tate leaves for college and breaks his promise to return to her on the 4th of July.
Over the next few years, as her artistic skills and knowledge of biology grow, Kya sends her nature drawings and research writings to publishers, as Tate had previously encouraged, and the income from the book helps support her family’s fortune.
The publication of Kya’s book leads to her rediscovery by her older brother Jodie, now a military veteran. He informs her that their mother wanted to find and reunite the other children, but she got sick and died of leukemia. Jodie promises to visit her when she can.
In 1965, now 19 years old, Kya is drawn into a prank by Chase Andrews, a popular Barkley Cove quarterback, who promises to marry her. When Kya discovers that Chase is already engaged to another girl, she furiously ends their relationship. Meanwhile, Tate returns to Barkley Cove, wanting to apologize to Kya for leaving her and rekindle their romance, but Kya is unsure.
Chase continues to pursue Kyu, wanting to continue their sexual relationship, but she rejects him. He then violently attacks and tries to rape her, but Kya successfully fights him off and loudly vows to kill him if he doesn’t leave her alone. A local fisherman overheard this threat.
Later, Chase is found dead at the bottom of a fire tower from which he fell. The tower is located in a wet and muddy bog that is flooded at high tide. There were no signs of the killer in the area, and no fingerprints were found on the tower. His body was missing the shell necklace that Kya had given him, and he was wearing it the night after his death. The next day, Kya is framed for murder and framed by the overzealous and suspicious townspeople.
Despite knowing that Kya was in Greenville to meet with a book publisher, police still speculate that she may have disguised herself and taken a quick round trip by bus back to Barkley Cove and the fire tower during the night. With little evidence beyond their unproven theory, the missing necklace, and the fisherman’s testimony, the police have no strong case, so she is found not guilty at trial in 1970.
Although Kya and Tate never formally married, they live together as loving partners. Kya has published other illustrated books about local nature over the years and Jodie and his family often visit her. After her death in the mid-1970s, Tate finds the missing necklace in a journal she had hidden. It was the only evidence that could convict her. Tate then leaves the shell from the necklace in the water, forever hiding Ky’s secret in her beloved swamp. “Where The Crawdads Sing.”
Where The Crawdads Sing Ending, Explained: What Happened At The End?
Crawdads themselves—like crawfish—are aquatic creatures, small lobster-like critters with shells. At the beginning of the article, Where the Crawdads, Sing Kya mentions that people always forget what’s inside the shell. She herself was in many ways in her shell, and the townspeople forgot about her, as well as the fact that she was a human with feelings. To this end, Kya basically hides from the locals as they dislike her and prefer to keep to herself.
Cawdads as the title of Owens’ book is significant because it is a reference to what Kya’s mother always told her – to go deep into the woods and listen to what nature told her. This made Kya more attuned to nature, constantly watching the creatures and learning about their habits, and why they did the things they did to survive. While crawdads don’t actually sing, the lesson Kya’s mother imparted ensured her survival and allowed her to become one with her surroundings. She was nature herself, and the crowds are a representation of that, as is Kya’s journey throughout the film.
Throughout the movie, Kya keeps finding feathers, often depicting a piece of nature that many overlook and don’t pay attention to. This parallels Kya’s relationship with the townspeople who don’t really see her and have dismissed her as an outsider they don’t want to be associated with. To Kyu, feathers are beautiful, each one is unique. He draws them, marvels at them, and brings them home with him.
Crucially, the feather is of utmost importance to her because it is a representation of her long-term relationship with Tate. Thus began their friendship. Tate would bring her feathers if he could find them; he knew how much they meant to Kyu. They eventually developed a romantic relationship that always involved exchanging feathers as a sign of affection and communication.
Ky’s family all left when she was very young and she lived alone with her abusive father for a while. However, Kya’s dad eventually leaves the swamp as well, disappearing for good like her mother and siblings before him. For a while, it looked as though Kya’s father would stay with her in the swamp, if only because he had nowhere to go. In Where the Crawdads Sing, he just never appears on screen and the story just forgets about him.
He is not shown walking away like Kya’s mother and siblings do, but he decides to leave the movie swamps after receiving a letter from his wife saying that he will take the children back with him. She burns everything she’s ever owned and gets drunk, probably passing out not long after, perhaps coming to some unspoken realizations about herself and her life.
The letter also comes after he has a brief moment with Kyo about his time in the military during World War II, which is probably why he became an alcoholic. However, the moment is interrupted by the arrival of a letter and he quickly reverts back to his angry, rude self.