“If it get dark now, you just ride it.”James
Ostensibly about a soldier recovering from PTSD after a tour in Afghanistan, Causeway broadens its focus midway into a wider examination of trauma outside its initial military context. Within the space of a smaller film, Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry have the freedom to deliver understated and introspective performances as new friends trying to heal. The Louisiana setting provides an uncomfortable environment in its oppressive heat, but the slower pace of life also makes the sudden friendship ring truer. Lynsey is not presented lazily as merely a victim and her growth ultimately requires dealing with a past that she has sought to outrun. Free of fiery flashbacks — the frequently used cinematic language that inaccurately depicts trauma — Causeway instead presents the more innocuous impacts like memory loss and sudden waves of debilitating emotion. Observational rather than explosive, Neuberger’s debut feature might not be ambitious in its reach, but it firmly grasps what it touches.