Causeway (2022)

‘Causeway’ thrives on its affecting performances

As the title suggests, the debut feature from theater director Lila Neugebauer is all about finding refuge above the crashing waves of PTSD. Both New Orleans residents Lynsey (Jennifer Lawrence) and James (Brian Tyree Henry) have sustained vastly different traumas but discover the aftermath is just as devastating whether the damage was inflicted by war or drunk driving.

The two actors strip away the artifice (literally) to summon haunting portrayals of emotional paralysis that can only be healed by their shared experience of survivor’s guilt.  Lawrence is the primary attraction, returning to the unadorned rawness of her work in “Winter’s Bone,” playing a woman failing to transcend a childhood only slightly less injurious than the IED that has temporarily crippled her inside and out. But Henry comes close to surpassing her in their every scene, as his James emerges from a self-inflicted fugue state, coaxed not by Lynsey’s undeniable beauty, but by her empathy and understanding of how to dispel the grief.

It’s not perfect. Neugebauer and a trio of writers take a somewhat simplified approach in examining the complexities of the fractured psyche. But “Causeway” remains impactful, proving that when it comes to absolution, there’s nothing more difficult than forgiving yourself.

Movie review


Rated: R for drug use, some language and sexual references

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Brian Tyree Henry

Director: Lila Neugebauer

Writers: Ottessa Moshfegh, Luke Goebel and Elizabeth Sanders

Runtime: 92 minutes

Where to see: Apple TV+

Grade: B

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