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‘Causeway’ is now an A24/Apple Original Films feature film out in theaters and on Apple’s streaming platform. This film has heart, attitude, and a lot of great personalities. It is a bonafide character piece and it shows off the strengths of the entire ensemble.
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This film was chosen by Jennifer Lawrence and production partner Justine Ciarrocchi because of all the big, possibly not personally rewarding work she had done in the past. She felt like getting back to some raw performance could be good, and it certainly was the right choice.
In the entertainment game, bigger stars want to choose what they do next. This happens for a very little population of the industry, but sometimes it gives us great stories. When any name champions a script, it can take new heights and lift everyone around it up.
Character Driven Story
I am not saying first-time feature director (Lila Neugebauer) needed this at all but she got to work with an actor in her prime. She has no doubt created the life of Lynsey through her traumas that helped shape who she has and will become. The script by writers Ottessa Moshfegh, Elizabeth Sanders, and Luke Goebel wrote a sentimental character piece that spoke volumes to Jennifer and Excellent Cadaver.
The film takes us through Lynsey’s (Jennifer Lawrence) life as she comes back after an injury in Afghanistan. Dealing with brain trauma is something that can sometimes not be reversed. Can she fight her way back or is she destined to drop snow cones forever?
Past and Present Trauma
Lynsey goes back to her hometown of New Orleans, and she has trouble coming to terms with her past and the trauma from those events. Trauma from war is no different than the trauma we can experience from our childhood with a set of unfortunate circumstances. This can be from drinking, drug abuse, parental abuse, or sometimes cataclysmic events. Trauma is trauma. War brings a different kind, but can strike fear in our hearts forever.
Lynsey couldn’t have had it worse until her car broke down. This sets in motion a beautiful friendship for the film, one that is vital to its success. She meets James (Brian Tyree Henry) who is the mechanic for her awesome pickup truck. They instantly create rapport and it only grows into more throughout the film.
The relationships that Lynsey has are all in a complete whirlwind. Where are her old childhood friends? Why is James so important to her? These are the questions that come into play when you come back from war, unable to process all the trauma laid upon you. Jennifer’s character shows more strength than most female characters in film by just existing with this trauma. Her issues may not even be physical to her, but a manifestation of her past trauma coming back to rear its ugly head.
Lynsey and Her Solidarity
We learn more about her through her complete solidarity. She wants to remain alone. Maybe her mother has given her this gift, or perhaps her own mental strife is forcing her away from her problems and people in general. She figures out just how to handle her problems, and how to ultimately create meaningful relationships.
Lynsey always seems to be wearing different colors than what the scenes and city show. This shows us how out of place she is. During the entire snow cone scene, the actors represent their connection to the environment. Jennifer’s character has a blue tank top on and Brian has a white shirt on. The surrounding areas show just how much Brian fits in. The houses are white, he has denim on, and his car is a true classic. The surrounding houses are all white, they seem old (like the car,) and he sweats as if he belongs.
Lynsey is at odds with the separation that she has from her own city. Her mother has caused trauma, but what kind? Maybe this is a real metaphor, pointing out that Jennifer may feel like she is the black sheep in our large celebrity-driven society.
An amazing lesson this film teaches is that trauma comes in all forms. Trauma can come from almost anything and the trauma from war can even be less potent than that inflicted by us through childhood. A24 has a way of choosing films that focus on our character, and the way they drive us into uncharted, uncomfortable territory. Real life matters and they choose films that emulate this. Apple seems to be garnering attention for this too, and it is something we can all gravitate to as consumers.
Check out this character-driven narrative on Apple Tv and select theaters now. Do not let the blockbuster-fueled past of Jennifer Lawrence deter you from her amazing abilities in front of the camera.
A causeway is defined as a raised rail or road across a wetland. ‘Causeway’ was a film defined by its title. Lynsey was always swimming away from her trauma. Sometimes you must build the bridge in order to assure you don’t sink. You have to cross over troubled waters, not breaststroking a way into the deep.
Always remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Trauma is the same way, and self-awareness and perception may be our only way out. Having friends in this world is vital to our ability to feel connected to something. Social groups are important, even if it’s just a roommate.
Director – Lila Neugebauer
Cast – Jennifer Lawrence, Brian Tyree Henry
Production – A24, Excellent Cadaver, Apple Original
By Nathan Paul Pasquale
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