Aside from her thrilling lead appearance in Adam McKay’s Oscar-nominated 2021 movie Don’t Look Up, Jennifer Lawrence’s career has taken the scenic route in recent years, with the actor on hiatus whilst pregnant with her son. Now her return is fully underway and Lila Neugebauer’s American drama Causeway has provided her next major role in the form of Lynsey, a US soldier sent home from Afghanistan after her convoy fell victim to an explosive attack.
Left with PTSD and severe brain trauma, Lynsey struggles to adjust back into normal civilian life and finds solace in a friendship with amputee car mechanic James (Brian Tyree Henry). Both broken souls in their own way, through each other’s company and the kindness of others they help to seal the cracks and reflect a narrative that is uncomfortably relatable to a number of veterans and victims of harrowing events.
If anything at all, Causeway is a film that reminds us how fantastic Jennifer Lawrence can be
She delivers the rawest performance of her career: from start to finish it isn’t just a face of exhaustion viewers see, but physical movement that replicates her character’s shattered condition. With every ounce of respite she receives from the tranquillity of the water when she is cleaning swimming pools and alongside Henry, it truly feels as if one knows the duo on a personal level. For both of them, the water is the best place for a broken soul to heal and, despite the film being a real drama that does take a while to get there, Lawrence and Henry make this potentially arduous task an absolute breeze through their captivating dynamic.
Written by Elizabeth Sanders, Luke Goebel and Ottessa Moshfegh, Causeway also presents a number of interesting themes for the actors to work around. The soldier’s determination and mentality that compels them to return to the field, seen prevalently in war movies like Jarhead, never leaves Lynsey. Likewise, the grief and guilt that James battles with everyday stays with him like a ball and chain. Cinematographer Diego Garcia opts not to play on these elements, keeping each scene in the present, rather than taking the easy option and reliving events through a series of flashbacks. This notable choice allows the movie’s heroes to instead provide the detail through words, allowing the audience to use their own imagination in the process and keeping them present in the moment.
There are moving scenes aplenty but Causeway is a success thanks to its cast. There is a calmness in every scene that at any moment could be sliced open, but Lawrence and Henry navigate the waters with an enticing grace that illustrates how friendship can help heal wounds over time.
Causeway is released nationwide and on Apple TV+ on 4th November 2022.
Watch the trailer for Causeway here: