“Causeway” is a movie that had to be made. And the fact that we get an Academy Award winner, like Jennifer Lawrence, playing a traumatized war veteran struggling to transition back to the civilian world, in a film like this is wonderful. But in making a thoughtful and realistic portrait like this one, the pacing of the film may scare away a lot of viewers.
Lawrence plays Lynsey, a military veteran whose vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device or IED and a following ambush while serving in Afghanistan. She’s sent home to New Orleans following rehab where she has to find a place in a world that no longer has a place for her. It’s her new mission to recover and rejoin the military anyway she can. Along the way, she befriends a mechanic named James (played by Brian Tyree Henry of Bullet Train and Atlanta) and gets a job as a pool cleaner.
In regards to what it is, it’s a good dramatic film. Lawrence is on top of her game and very believable in what is her best role in years. BTH is also very good in a role that lets him flex his dramatic acting muscles. The film is respectful to the military without pandering, and the struggles portrayed here are real.
The problem with Causeway is that director Lila Neugebauer has created an exercise that might be far too nuanced for a casual movie viewer. Lawrence is struggling mentally. But in this film that translates to a lot of silent shots of her doing little or nothing. The film is only 92 minutes, so I can understand the stretch but it will turn off some.
But Causeway is still a victory for everyone involved and a worthy illustration of what many military veterans are going through everyday.
Running Time: 1 Hour 32 Minutes
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