- Run Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
- Studio: A24
- Director: Lila Neugebauer
- Where to Watch: Apple TV+
A US soldier returns from combat after being medically discharged and is placed into assisted living care. As she works to get back to some level of autonomy, Lynsey struggles with PTSD and depression that renders her unable to perform basic tasks and chores. Several months pass and through the help of her caretaker, she returns to her hometown outside of New Orleans. Lynsey is forced to move back into her mom’s home and soon gets a job cleaning pools to help contribute. One day, Lynsey’s car breaks down and she pulls into a random autobody for repairs. James, the mechanic who repairs her car, offers Lynsey a ride and the two soon become friends. Lynsey and James both explore their traumas together and Lynsey is forced to reckon with her own demons.
Jennifer Lawrence stars as Lynsey and delivers several chilling lines of dialogue throughout this movie. She’s got this dead pan, uber traumatized look on her face that makes her almost zombie-like but it adds to the terrifying story that she recounts. The costume department really dresses her down and keeps everything about her super grounded and realistic, which adds to her performance by making her look the part. When Lawrence is on screen with Brian Tyree Henry (who is fast becoming an on screen favorite of mine), it’s very entertaining. Henry plays the mechanic who forms a relationship with Lynsey and he’s equally damaged but in a different way. His delivery isn’t horrifying, but it is deeply moving. Together, these two damaged characters from a wide range of demographics get the chance to air their grief for a wide audience. Putting them together on screen is a genius play by Lila Neugebauer.
The story that Lawrence and Henry deliver together is interesting during the drama, but it’s an incredibly slow burn. There are long stretches where nothing happens and Neugebauer lets the camera wander through mundane daily lives as a crutch to put something on screen. It’s all very good looking, but that can only go so far. There are moments where some dread starts to creep up under the surface and I’m waiting for something to go wrong but nothing major happens. The underlying message from Neugebauer is still present throughout and the intersecting character arcs with Lynsey and James keep the audience engaged when it matters most.
Causeway is a quick 90 minute drama that checks all the Oscar-bait boxes and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Apple wanted it so badly. Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry delivery some haunting performances in Lila Neugebauer’s poignant look at opioids, PTSD, and veteran services. There are plenty of themes and plot elements that a wide array of audiences can draw connections from and that makes the commentary of this movie all the more relevant.