Jennifer Lawrence 'Causeway' Review

Jennifer Lawrence ‘Causeway’ Review

Jennifer Lawrence’s return to the small, smaller films that first caught audiences’ attention, like 2010’s “Winter’s Bone,” is signalled by “Causeway.” It serves as a reminder that the large, celebrity-studded productions she has been in for years have not done her well, even though “Silver Linings Playbook,” one of them, earned her an Oscar.

The film by director Lila Neugebauer is a private affair; it tells the story of two damaged individuals who gingerly navigate a friendship in their native New Orleans. Outside the touristy districts, the Big Easy is depicted as an ordinary neighbourhood with real people going about their daily lives and coping with problems.

Lawrence portrays Lynsey, an Afghan War veteran who was medically discharged due to a catastrophic brain injury sustained in an IED attack. In the first part of “Causeway,” Sharon (Jayne Houdyshell), an elderly woman who returned to school to receive training in rehabilitation after caring for one of her disabled family members, describes her recuperation. These opening few minutes, which dramatise Lynsey’s restoration with dramatic ebbs and flows, can stand alone as a short film.

The majority of “Causeway” is in this style. The dialogue between Lawrence and the other performers in the script by Ottessa Moshfegh, Luke Goebel, and Elizabeth Sanders is divided into some two-handers that feel both standalone and like they are a part of the overall story. A murderers’ row of actors from the cast serves as scene partners, including Stephen McKinley Henderson, Linda Emond from “Succession,” Will Pullen, and Brian Tyree Henry.

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The overarching theme is how Lynsey manages the trauma brought on by her combat wounds and how it affects her physical and emotional health. The earthy, stunning performance by Lawrence is possibly her best. Even after the film makes a significant narrative error, she keeps the film realistic.

James, Henry’s mechanic, is Lawrence’s leading scene partner. She brings her mother’s truck to the shop where he works for a carburettor repair. James lost his leg in a vehicle accident like Lynsey and experienced a terrible injury. They converse about their various high schools’ hometowns and how Lynsey’s high school team used to play basketball against James’ sister’s team.

Lynsey reveals that she is a lesbian to James at the beginning of their relationship, which allows the spectator to temper his expectations. These two are solitary individuals who have their barriers up to keep others out.

Lawrence and Henry have a beautiful chemistry in their scenes, which comes through not only in their banter but also in their silences and pauses. Because of the innate trepidation brought on by trauma, many potential minefields are hinted at or alluded to in their interactions. They make an elegant duo, with Henry giving a superb performance that matches Lawrence’s note-for-note.

Gloria, played by Emond, is Lynsey’s mother. The tension in their connection is visible in the actors’ body language and the conversational undertones, even though she loves her kid but is not very trustworthy. Lynsey had endured her family’s drug addiction for her whole life, to the point where she enlisted to flee.

Pullen, Lynsey’s deaf brother, suffers from addiction, while Gloria enjoys more than a few belts of alcohol. Lynsey’s neurologist Dr Lucas (Henderson), prescribed a potent cocktail of medications to keep her functioning so she doesn’t engage in excessive drinking. However, she occasionally goes out for beers with James after she finishes cleaning pools.

Have you consumed alcohol? Gloria enquires once. “I believed you to be the one in charge.” “Well, don’t turn into your Aunt Leslie or anyone else from my family,” her mother says in response to Lynsey’s objections. Although James’ experience is significantly more terrible, family is another source of sympathy for Lynsey and James.

“Causeway” commits one significant dramatic error as additional details regarding James’ limb loss and his fiancee’s subsequent breakup come to light: it betrays its two main characters to create some second-act tension. Even while this development is annoying, it eventually leads to Henry’s best sequence, a monologue that should be used as an Oscar clip if there is any justice.

In “Causeway,” Neugebauer repeatedly references water. Lynsey cleans the pools when her clients aren’t home and occasionally swims in them. Under pressure, she hides in the shower. And if Dr Lucas approves her waiver, she intends to resume her previous position as an Army Corps of Engineers water and dam specialist. The viewer will be too preoccupied with the superb performances to give it much attention and therefore be left to determine any symbolic meaning.