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Causeway Movie Review: Jennifer Lawrence Rekindles Her Career With Apple’s Touching Drama About Recovery

One of the world’s highest paid actors released a new movie this week, and you probably had no idea. Welcome to the world of Apple TV+, which at first glance may seem like a streaming service, but in reality works like a speakeasy. It counts among its members some of the greatest filmmakers in the world, but restricts access to its own library as if it were selling illegal alcohol on the black market and paranoid about getting caught. However, assuming you’ve managed to pinpoint the whereabouts of this secret society, whisper a password at the door, and access the exclusive content in the hallowed halls, you might discover that the latest feature release of Apple, Causeway, living up to expectations. high standards that the streamer has set for itself.

It acts as both a return to roots and a career reset for star Jennifer Lawrence, who came on the scene in 2010 with an equally low-key mood piece called Winter’s Bone, but spent the next decade alternating increasingly forgettable franchise films while seemingly trapped was held in David O Russell’s basement. As her status and bank balance grew, so did the equality of her roles.

In the most memorable scene of Winter’s Bone, a film that made Lawrence one of the youngest-ever nominees for the Best Actress Oscar, her teenage protagonist tried to enlist in the military as a last-ditch effort to break out of her poverty-stricken existence. to come. She is rejected, partly because she does not have parental consent, but also because she had wrong intentions. At least in the eyes of the recruiter.

There is a sense that Lynsey, her character in Causeway, has also joined the military in an attempt to escape the grief of her past. Although it’s never been described for our convenience, the film implies that Lynsey associates the house she grew up in with the darkest period of her life. After all, this is where she lived with her alcoholic mother, emotionally absent father and addicted brother. No wonder she wanted out.

We first meet her when she just comes home from Afghanistan after sustaining a traumatic brain injury from an IED attack which she recounts with amazing clarity minutes later. The attack left Lynsey depressed, anxious and unable to perform basic tasks such as brushing her teeth or going to the toilet. But in just one montage, we’re told that Lynsey had a remarkable recovery that gave her a measure of independence, but still not enough to get the green light for rehoming she so desperately wants.

Debut director Lila Neugebauer films the opening scenes with a still camera, perhaps in an attempt to reflect Lynsey’s lack of mobility. As Lynsey learns to walk again, the film seems to stretch her legs with her. A chance meeting introduces her to a mechanic named James, played by the excellent Bryan Tyree Henry. Like Lynsey, James also struggles with past trauma. During some interactions where they allow themselves to be emotionally vulnerable, the two find that they must lean on each other to heal.

Causeway is a very deliberate attempt by Lawrence to keep it in check, having survived the minefield of franchise filmmaking that relies more on explosions than expressions. As great as an early monologue in this movie is, Lawrence is even better in some of the smaller moments in the movie. Think of the scene where Lynsey asks a pool cleaner if he can give her a job. Lawrence’s performance is brimming with rebellious pride and still so vulnerable.

However, the centerpiece of the film is a scene where she has an inevitable fight with James. As with most of the other scenes in the film, it’s all a little too well exposed. But there is tension beneath the surface. This metaphor takes place on screen as Lynsey and James wander around a swimming pool, but argue when he pulls himself out. Now he has the emotional upper hand, and Lynsey is submerged in both water and guilt. But as strong as Lawrence is in this scene, it’s Henry’s near-silent performance that really stands out. James mumbles his way through most of the film, almost as if he’s forgotten what it’s like to talk to others. But as he lashes out at Lynsey for disrespecting him, his sharp words cut through the still night air.

Adult friendships are not at all like the friendships we form as children. They are filled with empty spaces and deliberate omissions. Backstories are not revealed in landfills, but over time, in carefully curated eruptions. No one wants to do the same dance again, especially these two. There is a feeling that they have been burned before. And so they only give out new information about themselves when they feel their relationship has evolved to a level where certain walls can be broken down. Lynsey and James not only forge a friendship with each other, but also with us.

Causeway isn’t the most comfortable experience, but it’s worth it in its own quiet way – like spending an intense evening with an old confidant you lost touch with.

Director – Lila Neugebauer
Form – Jennifer Lawrence, Brian Tyree Henry
Rating – 4/5

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