Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Alex Somers

QuickView: Causeway (2022)

“If it get dark now, you just ride it.”


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.


QuickView: Honey Boy (2019)

Honey Boy

“Avoid trauma reminders? My whole work requires and is motivated by trauma reminders.”


The autobiographical nature of Honey Boy is evident even if one didn’t know Shia LaBeouf wrote the script. Noah Jupe is suitably captivating as a twelve-year-old actor in the questionable care of his recovering alcoholic father, a failed entertainer. The highlight, however, is LaBeouf on excellent form effectively playing his own father consumed by seething resentment at everyone. The film suggests an intention to forgive his father’s flaws but the portrayal is uncompromising and honest, aided by the lo-fi presentation of this independently funded film. However, intercutting the story with an older Otis in court-mandated alcohol rehab, resisting therapists’ attempts to explore his childhood, does not work. LaBeouf seems to be justifying his own erratic behaviour but — without introspection by the older Otis (or indeed LaBeouf’s script) — there is nothing for the audience to learn from his experience. As the credits roll there is less a sense of catharsis than narcissism.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

Up ↑