Where the Crawdads Sing parents guide: The PG-13 thriller is now on Hulu -- but is it okay for teens?

Where the Crawdads Sing is officially rated PG-13, but this isn't going to be suitable for all teenagers.
Where the Crawdads Sing -- Courtesy of Michele K. Short/Sony
Where the Crawdads Sing -- Courtesy of Michele K. Short/Sony /

Where the Crawdads Sing was a best-selling novel by Delia Owens, so it wasn’t that surprising to hear that it was going to be turned into a movie. Now that movie is available to stream on Hulu, you’ll want to know if it’s for the kids.

The thriller follows Kya, a young girl who raised herself in North Carolina’s marshlands after being abandoned when she was young. She’s a resilient young woman, who finds herself drawn to two young men from town.

When one of the men is found dead, Kya is the immediate suspect. Everyone always wants to blame the outcast, right? Kya needs to find a way to prove her innocence, and it’s soon clear that nothing is all that clear as secrets are revealed.

This is a PG-13 movie, but there are some strong scenes of violence and sexual abuse. Let’s dive into why this may not be right for every teenager you know.

Where the Crawdads Sing parents guide: Explaining The PG-13 age rating

While the movie is rated PG-13 in the United States, it’s rated 15 in the UK. This gives us a good idea as to who the movie is more suitable for. The younger teens may find some of the scenes frightening and uncomfortable to watch. The topic is certainly an important one, but there are better ways to discuss it than to sit with this movie.

Nudity and sex: Yes, there is some nudity and sex in this movie. There’s no full-frontal nudity, which is why it gets to keep its PG-13 rating. The sex is shown but not in graphic detail.

Violence: It’s the strong violence that will be uncomfortable for a lot of viewers. At one point, we see a man beating his wife, and there are scenes of sexual assault. While not graphic, it’s extremely clear what is going on. There is a scene where the dead body is shown. This isn’t graphic, either. Think of what you would see on the likes of NCIS and FBI, which are primetime shows.

Language: The use of language is on the milder side considering the topic of Where the Crawdads Sing. The worst words are “b*****d,” “s**t,” and “w***e.”

Alcohol and drugs: We do see a lot of characters consuming alcohol throughout the movie. There are scenes in bars and scenes where individuals are relaxing with a beer. The worst of the alcohol use is when we see a bottle of liquor with a drunken man beating his wife. No drugs are shown in the movie.

Overall verdict: Who is Where the Crawdads Sing appropriate for?

While this is a PG-13 movie, I wouldn’t put this on for the younger teens in the house. There are some disturbing and frightening scenes. Older teens should be okay, although they may find the topics uncomfortable. It’s certainly worth having a discussion with them afterward.

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