Not the Oscars, but Close
Throughout this year, hundreds of new movies crossed our screens. Two years after the start of the pandemic, audiences were ready for new films to occupy their minds. These five movies were released in 2022 and were standouts in their genres and in the film world. If you have not had a chance to see them yet, make sure they are on your must-watch list before the new year comes.
Don’t Worry Darling, Thriller/Mystery, Directed by Olivia Wilde
This movie features a star-studded cast including Harry Styles, Florence Pugh, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, and Nick Kroll. The movie is centered around a married couple, Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles), who live on an idealistic cul-de-sac with Jack’s coworkers and the couples’ friends. Each day, the husbands go to work while their wives stay at home. However, Alice begins to notice odd things happening in her community, and when she starts asking questions, she faces backlash from the community leader guru, Frank (Chris Pine). This fast-paced and beautifully shot movie features twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Nope, Horror/Sci-Fi, Directed by Jordan Peele
This popular horror movie features Keke Palmer, Daniel Kaluuya, Barbie Ferreira, Michael Wincott, and Brandon Perea. Nope makes itself unique from other horror movies in that it incorporates both comedy and science fiction. It follows two siblings that live on a ranch in California and notice a UFO in the sky, which turns their world upside down. This foreign object causes turmoil in their lives, creating a unique and fascinating storyline for all viewers to enjoy.
Where the Crawdads Sing, Mystery/Drama, Directed by Olivia Newman
This highly anticipated movie is based on the best-selling beloved novel by Delia Owens. The movie focuses on the main character, Kya Clark, played by Daisy Edgar-Jones. Kya was abandoned as a young girl and raised herself in the marshlands of North Carolina. Surviving alone, Kya grew up into a strong young woman. After a man in town is discovered dead, Kya immediately becomes one of the main suspects. This drama is fast-paced and keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat. Additionally, this movie appeals to many Taylor Swift lovers as it features some of her music.
The Batman, Action/Adventure, Directed by Matt Reeves
With another incredibly star-studded cast, The Batman features celebrities such as Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Colin Farrell, Jeffrey Wright, and Andy Serkis. Following the basic plotline of most Batman movies, Batman (Robert Pattinson) attempts to save Gotham City from the villains of the world. Batman works hard throughout the course of the movie to bring justice back to the city of Gotham and protect its citizens.
The Woman King, Action/Drama, Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
In this movie showcasing Viola Davis, a group of all-female warriors protect their kingdom. This powerful group of women has their own unique set of skills that allows them to ferociously protect the African kingdom of Dahomey. The general warrior amongst all the women is General Nanisca, who trains a new group of recruits to fight against the latest threat posed to their kingdom. This movie is action-packed and guaranteed to keep the viewer’s attention the whole time.
Where the Crawdads Sing Controversy
Where the Crawdads Sing Controversy
Taylor Swift Unfairly Criticized for Involvement in Film Adaptation
By Grace O’Connor ’22
Many readers have been anxiously awaiting the release of the film Where the Crawdads Sing, which is based on the New York Times best-selling novel of the same name. The book centers on a woman named Kya who is forced to grow up on her own and navigate the complexities of life without guidance from a young age.
As a teenager, Kya finds herself involved in two serious relationships. She becomes swept up in both, letting herself be open to love, a feeling she had never experienced before in her life. When one of the men she is involved with is found dead, Kya is the first to be blamed, as many people in her community are quick to judge her due to her tragic past.
The novel seamlessly combines two genres, romance and mystery, keeping readers engaged from its opening pages to its final lines. Readers empathize with Kya as she falls victim to social prejudices against her owing to her socioeconomic background but are inspired by her resilience.
With news of Where the Crawdads Sing’s adaptation to the big screen has come scrutiny of author Delia Owens’ questionable past, the facts of which were not publicized when the novel was first released in 2018.: Years before she became a writer, Owens and her now-ex-husband traveled to Zambia, where they were believed to be somehow involved with the murder of an unidentified poacher.
Without spoiling Where the Crawdads Sing, there were enough similarities between the novel’s plot and the author’s unsavory background for backlash to erupt at news of the novel’s film adaptation. Indeed, according to BuzzFeed News, “despite its critical acclaim, Where the Crawdads Sing has been shrouded in controversy after problematic information about [Owens] came to light.”
One famous figure who seems unfazed by the controversy is music industry legend Taylor Swift. In March, Swift took to social media to share a teaser trailer for the film that featured a song she wrote called “Carolina.” The singer expressed, “as soon as I heard there was a [Where the Crawdads Sing] film in the works starring the incredible @daisyedgarjones and produced by the brilliant @reesewitherspoon, I knew I wanted to be a part of it from the musical side. I wrote the song ‘Carolina’ alone and asked my friend @aarondessner to produce it. I wanted to create something haunting and ethereal to match this mesmerizing story.”
Although many of Swift’s loyal fans were excited to hear a new song from the artist, some were disappointed that in supporting the upcoming film, Swift essentially aligned herself with Owens despite the author’s dubious past. As The News explains, many have “expressed disappointment that Swift is supporting someone who got away with the murder. Others said that she should have first [considered] all the information [about the project and those associated with it] before doing [a song for it].” Still other fans believe that Swift and her team fans were not aware of Owens’ past before becoming involved in the production. As BuzzFeed News notes, some critics are attempting to paint the situation as evidence of Swift being a white feminist and only standing up for others’ rights when it benefits her.
However, Swift is only one person of many—and one celebrity of many—who is involved in the production, with breakout star Daisy Edgar-Jones starring as Kya and Reese Witherspoon’s production company helming the film. While, if true, Owens’s role in the poacher’s murder is certainly deplorable, critics’ condemnation of Swift for her involvement in Where the Crawdads Sing and silence with regard to the other big names attached to the project suggests that the outcry is not so much about the morality of working on the film, but rather about criticizing a successful woman’s accomplishments.