Released on Apple TV on Nov. 4, “Causeway” is an emotional drama starring Jennifer Lawrence as Lynsey, a U.S. soldier who has returned home from Afghanistan after suffering a traumatic brain injury.
The film showcases the struggles of being a veteran trying to rebuild a life in the U.S. after being gone for such a long stretch of time, while also recovering from a serious injury. It portrays this subtly with very emotional undertones. Lawrence’s talent of wordlessly showing emotion is greatly shown off and sets a very somber tone for the entire film.
The film begins with Lynsey in therapy living with a one-on-one nurse, implying the severity of her injury. Over the course of the movie, Lynsey slowly recovers and moves back into her mother’s home in New Orleans where she forms a friendship with a local car mechanic named James.
The pair bond over their similar childhoods in New Orleans and the sufferings endured that led them to their present situations. Over the course of their friendship, it’s revealed that Lynsey was in an explosion in Afghanistan that caused bleeding in her brain. Despite this trauma, Lynsey is still determined to get back to her work in Afghanistan.
Everyday tasks that most people don’t even think about doing such as walking, writing or brushing your teeth are things Lynsey has to completely relearn. Lawrence does an incredible job of showing the intensity of this relearning process and how little it makes a person feel.
Lynsey’s nurse, played by Jayne Houdyshell, exemplifies the kindness and support needed for someone in such a low place. She’s there for Lynsey as she begins her recovery, continuing to show kindness and understanding despite Lynsey’s lack of gratitude.
Lynsey’s friendship with James is symbolic of how important human connection really is, even among a seemingly unlikely pair; having someone to share the human experience with can be the support one needs to get back on their feet. James shows a deep understanding of Lynsey’s struggles and eventually shares his own, which Lynsey shows just as much compassion towards.
While there are some conflicts and confusion within their friendship, the connection they have withholds. The pair holds each other accountable for their mistakes, including ones they didn’t even really realize they made. This brings Lynsey to confront her abandonment of family and friends, leading her to visit her brother in jail. The film ends with an emotional reconnection of Lynsey and her brother and shows that despite the traumas they’ve both been through, their sibling bond still remains intact.
The film does a great job of incorporating stigmatized or less represented communities, including veterans suffering from PTSD, the deaf community and the LGBTQIA+ community. This representation blended in completely with the story and added more raw feeling.