“Causeway” - Movie Review

Story posted November 14, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Cassie Baylis.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bryan Tyree Henry star in “Causeway,” released Nov. 4 on Apple TV+.

The film follows U.S. soldier Lynsey (Jennifer Lawrence), as she learns how to return to normal living in New Orleans, after suffering a traumatic brain injury in Afghanistan.

Produced by A24, “Causeway” is a drama, directed by Lila Neugebauer. Her other works include “Room 104” (2017) and “Maid” (2021).

The tone of the film is emotional and melancholy, as Lynsey struggles to do daily tasks when first returning. It shows her progress in physical therapy and the hardships of reclaiming mental stability after fighting in war.

Despite the injury she has barely survived, Lynsey’s main goal throughout the movie is recovering as quickly as possible in hopes to go back to Afghanistan.

Once able to move around normally again, Lynsey fills her time by getting a job cleaning pools and forming a friendship with James (Bryan Tyree Henry), a car repairman.

In this friendship, the two are able to be vulnerable and confide in each other. Something both Lynsey and James seem to be missing in their lives, especially after facing their traumatic pasts.

The film creates an emotional story that viewers will connect to. When learning their pasts and the depth of their issues, viewers will want to comfort the characters.

Since “Causeway” touches on how the characters have to deal with their past by having to confront it in a new way, there are a lot of very emotional scenes.

Jennifer Lawrence portrays the grueling truth of recovery from a brain injury. Anger, fear, sadness and numbness are emotions Lawrence represents with ease.

Her ability to sit and stare in thought makes watchers wonder what Lynsey is pondering when first returning, the inner turmoil turning inside.

Lawrence’s character, Lynsey, battles depression and PTSD throughout the film, two difficult illnesses to convincingly depict as an actress.

However, it is not surprising, by looking at Lawrence’s past with passionately emotional roles, that she was the perfect choice for Lynsey.

While there is an accurate representation of the difficulties soldiers face when coming back from war, “Causeway” could be considered too slow-moving.

However, this strategy creates a more numbing feeling, allowing the true feelings portrayed to come through and settle with the audience.

Diego García, the cinematographer of “Causeway,” does an excellent job of mirroring the tone of the plot in the filming.

García’s work in this movie, reflects his style in “Wildlife” (2018).

Darker lighting and duller colors of the cinematography create amazing shots correlating with the dramatic tone.

This style especially makes the scenes when Lynsey first starts her recovery with her caretaker more emotional, revealing the true effects of the injury.

A smaller problem with the movie is the lack of progression in some of the aspects of character development.

Even when revealing a new part of Lynsey’s background viewers might find unexpected, the time taken to explain was brief and still leaves remaining questions.

There could have been more avenues taken to discover Lynsey’s character deep down. The film might have opened up more confusion than solving the issue of not knowing Lynsey.

This is why the film does not get a perfect score. The cinematography makes up for the writing falling short, but it does not complete it.

For the most part, “Causeway” provides an emotional story of a soldier suffering from a traumatic brain injury. It will make viewers sit with the realities of PTSD in different forms in a truly thoughtful way.

Rating: 3.5/5

Cassie Baylis is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email ceb6085@psu.edu.