Parents' Guide to

Where the Crawdads Sing

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Standout performances in uneven, trauma-filled adaptation.

Movie PG-13 2022 125 minutes
Where the Crawdads Sing Movie Poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 26 parent reviews

age 18+

Excellent story but contains violence and sexual abuse

This is my personal opinion because I am easily triggered by abuse of all kinds and there was a lot of that in this movie. It really was an excellent story line but I think it should be rated R because of some of the content. It has a lot of sex scenes, violence, abuse, and what really bothered me was it had a rape scene- and two debatably almost rape scenes. I would absolutely not want my kids watching this until they are adults. I’m 25 and it was a bit too much for me. I rate it really good because it was a very good movie. Just absolutely not appropriate for younger ages.
age 16+

Great movie, for adults.

I really liked this but it simply isn't suitable for kids. There's multiple graphic scenes such child abuse, abuse, rape, sex, dead bodies, and violence that are too mature and inappropriate for kids.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (26 ):
Kids say (34 ):

The beauty of the natural setting and the central love story aren't quite enough to save this adaptation from the slippery slope of melodrama, but Edgar-Jones gives a standout performance. The genre-bending page-to-screen drama is like a classic tragic romance set in the American South, with young Kya an almost Dickensian figure. The cruelties that young Kya must endure are nearly unwatchable: Her entire family abandons her, her father slaps her, the other kids taunt her. Later, audiences will cheer as Kya grows into a young woman who observes all the fauna and flora of the marsh with joy and admiration (and as the lovely and selfless Tate takes an interest in tutoring her and clearly falls in love). But Kya's bad luck ultimately continues, and she ends up not with brilliant scientist-in-training Tate but with predatory and deceitful Chase, who's more interested in conquest than true love.

Screenwriter Lucy Alibar's adaptation makes the murder case against Kya the framing device that spawns flashbacks to the romances, tragedies, and family drama. But, unlike the book, the movie version of Where the Crawdads Sing doesn't fully explore each of those aspects of the story. The court proceedings in particular don't explore the details that make the eventual revelations pack an extra punch. What director Olivia Newman does explore is the way that darkness lurks just beneath the lush landscape. For every feather or shell that Kya collects, there's an ugly secret, a foul rumor, a moment of abuse to witness. It's no wonder Kya prefers the marsh to the town, the kindness of Jumpin' and Mabel to the scrutiny of Chase's friends. Kya, like the animals she's observed her whole life, knows when to shrink into herself as a survival mechanism. 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.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate