Causeway stars Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry in a quiet, introspective story about two traumatized people who find each other and help each other heal. The subtle reveal of character the two lead actors create is touching and brimming with vulnerability.
Causeway begins with Lynsey (Jennifer Lawrence) leaving the hospital after a brain injury from an IED in Afghanistan. She’s headed for a long rehab in a private home under the care of the kindhearted Sharon (Jayne Houdyshell).
When Lynsey is capable of taking care of herself (and driving) she goes back to New Orleans, to stay with her mother (Linda Emond) in her childhood home. Lynsey and her mother have a difficult relationship. Growing up, Lynsey couldn’t wait to get out of her mother’s house. Now that she’s back in it, all she can think about is getting well enough to redeploy and leave again.
It’s implied but never spelled out that both Lynsey and her brother (now in prison) suffered some trauma during their childhoods.
When Lynsey’s truck breaks down, she takes it to a mechanic, James (Brian Tyree Henry). I think they recognize each other’s trauma. They do a few things together – have a meal, get a snow ball – and are on the way to becoming friends. They discuss the obligatory, “Are you in a relationship?” question. Neither are, but Lynsey dashes James’ hopes by telling him that if she was in a relationship, it would be with a woman.
Lynsey gets a job cleaning pools. She visits the neurologist Dr. Lucas (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and tries to convince him she’s ready to redeploy and he should sign off on her fitness.
A Woman Directed
Causeway was directed by Lila Neugebauer. She treated these two broken people with such tenderness and gentleness. The performances as they worked toward strength and recovery were full of vulnerability and pain. The script was not action packed, although it had powerful moments. There were many moments of sitting alone, staring out windows, waiting through it.
There was water everywhere. Water as purpose. Water as therapy. Water as confessional. Bursting gasping from water. Entering a pool full of people like rejoining the human race after a long time away.
I found the film touching and impressively acted by the two leads.
The film is on AppleTV+. If you take a look, please leave a comment with your reactions to the film.