Causeway (2022)

Jennifer Lawrence has been in four movies since 2017, so the once ubiquitous Oscar-nominated actress is getting more selective with her film roles, so now with each role the question becomes what made this project the one. Causeway is a fairly straightforward drama following Lynsey (Lawrence), a soldier who is recovering from her traumatic brain injury and ensuing memory loss. She’s stateside and living back in her hometown and trying to speed through physical therapy to re-enlist back to the life she knows but may not be equipped to handle. This is definitely a character piece but I don’t know if there’s enough interesting material here with these characters. Causeway is one of those indie dramas that lean into a lot of contemplative staring, which could be very meaningful if I felt like I had been given access to the characters internal dilemmas beyond a general assessment. Much of the movie follows Lynsey’s friendship with a local mechanic, James (Brian Tyree Henry), who has his own tragic past that he’s trying to come to terms with. The movie is at its best when they’re sharing time together and it begins to feel like an introspective hangout movie that will allow both of these people to let down their guards and develop. It moves in starts and stops but Causeway never feels like it gets anywhere fast or that transcendent. By the end, the journey doesn’t feel earned. Lawrence is good, though rather restrained, as the movie fills much of its time with her long pensive stares. There’s a movie here, for sure, but nobody feels in a hurry to uncover it. It’s a perfectly “nice movie” but one that underwhelms because it feels too afraid of pushing too hard or delving too far, for that would betray some artistic ode of “realism.” Causeway is a minimal, plaintive drama with much left unsaid, but what is said and honestly dealt with is compelling enough to make me wish I could trade in the many stares for more words spoken by these talented thespians.

Nate’s Grade: B-

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About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on December 27, 2022, in 2022 Movies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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