It feels like quite some time since we have really seen Jennifer Lawrence back in her bag, but I believe that Causeway is another showcase of what she has to offer for the big screen, and to us as viewers. The film opens with Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Lynsey, being escorted to a nurse’s care facility for an unknown injury. The man who hands her off to the nurse was wearing an Army uniform, so right from the start we can assume that something happened to her during the tour of duty. Lynsey is nearly completely silent, only showing nonverbal cues of emotion as she is goes through the motions of recovery. Her silence sets the tone for what is to come on this psychological and emotional journey through what it means to be thrusted back into civilian life after going through deep trauma.
On the road to recovery, Lynsey doesn’t seem to have any major physical injury that is noticeable to the viewer but comes to find out there is something wrong with her motor skills as she attempts to brush her teeth with the nurse and misses her mouth with the toothbrush. Lynsey goes through a series of challenging tasks mentally, whether it be from actual physical therapy, or simply performing memory puzzles before she is finally discharged from the hospital and able to go home. After several bus rides, Lynsey finally makes it to her childhood home where her mom remarks about how she thought Lyndsey was supposed to come home Friday instead of the Wednesday that she arrives. I could guess that something seemed a little off between her mother and herself, but it wouldn’t be clearer until later.
Through a series of events, Lynsey meets a car mechanic played by Brian Tyree Henry, named James. James notices something wrong with Lynsey walking home one day and offers her a ride home. These two hit it off together, and soon finds out James is dealing with some significant trauma of his own. Lynsey wants to hurry up and get better so she can return to service, and we walk with her and James through dealing with their pain together as friends, as well as being pulled on an emotional rollercoaster of recovery with Lynsey. At a brisk 92 minutes, one thing is for certain, this film has a specific message about recovery it wants to tell the audience, and it won’t waste more time than it needs to.
Right from the start, Jennifer Lawrence can create an intense emotional struggle without saying anything for the first 10-15 minutes of the film. I was captivated by her ability to show nonverbal cues incredibly well, and she really was able to offer more than I could have ever thought from her role as a veteran dealing with a potentially long-term disability. I have a small bias for stories on the military due to my own time in the United States Air Force, but this is no military film. Not only does Jennifer Lawrence handle herself well as a veteran, but this is a film about recovery, and what it means to go from being someone who seemingly had everything going for them and see all those things swiftly washed away in what feels like the blink of an eye.
As a supporting actor, Brian Tyree Henry does a great job of bouncing off anything Jennifer Lawrence’s character hands to him. These two together made this film completely captivating and believable, and I really felt compassionate to the feelings and trauma they would share with each other. I don’t think I could possibly show how much empathy I wanted to give them both, and they almost felt like people I know in real life that I wanted to help in my own way. It can be incredibly difficult to get thrust back into society from a severe trauma event no matter what it is, but these two show that with the right companion, anything is possible. If you have Apple+, then I would say that watching this film is a no brainer. Causeway won’t spend time with needless exposition and gets right to the message it's trying to convey; everyone can heal, no matter what happened to them in the past.