A Causeway is defined as ‘a path above the level of a wetland.’ In Jennifer Lawrence’s mindful film about healing – it’s her road to recovery as a wounded soldier returning from Afghanistan..
After her vehicle was hit by an IED while serving in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, specializing in water systems, Lynsey (Lawrence) arrives home in New Orleans suffering from a debilitating brain injury and compromised motor skills.
Although she was cautioned by a VA caregiver (Jayne Houdyshell) and warned by her neurologist (Stephen McKinley Henderson), she is stubbornly determined to redeploy, particularly since she has a fraught relationship with her boozy, flaky mother (Linda Emond) who didn’t meet Lynsey at the bus.
Eager to physically and mentally convalesce as quickly as possible, Lynsey takes a job cleaning swimming pools. But she needs transportation and the beat-up, old truck, left behind by her drug-addled brother, needs a lot of fixing.
At a nearby garage, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with lonely car mechanic James (Brian Tyree Henry), who is working his way through the trauma of his own disability. What’s most memorable is how these two disparate souls slowly connect, drinking beer and smoking weed, despite the awkwardness of their bond.
Broadway director Lila Neugebauer, a Yale alumna making her feature-film debut, developed the minimalist, character-driven script with newcomers Odessa Moshfegh, Luke Goebel and Elizabeth Sanders, constructing an intimate, honest, revealing drama.
Although she’s become best-known as Katniss Everdeen in four films comprising The Hunger Games franchise, Jennifer Lawrence returns to her indie roots, revealing a raw vulnerability that’s reminiscent of her compelling breakthrough performance in Winter’s Bone (2010).
During a press conference at the Toronto Film Festival, Lawrence noted how her own troubled past prepared her for this part, revealing that she dropped out of school at age 14, leaving home because of a complicated relationship with her parents.
On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Causeway is a subtle, somber, understated 6, streaming on Apple TV+