Causeway Review – Healing With Trauma

Causeway is a movie about trauma and healing. Jennifer Lawrence‘s Lynsee has suffered a brain injury and Bryan Tyree Henry‘s James suffers from the loss of family. The film centers on these two sharing moments and their performances flow through one another showing us how two souls can find healing through their trauma.

The Good

Jennifer Lawrence as Lynsee and Bryan Tyree Henry as James is a lot better casting than I expect. Causeway isn’t a romance movie but there are romantic moments that happen in the movie. This is a film about trauma. Jennifer and Brian deliver a unique view of what trauma is for them. These two deliver powerful character studies into both James and Lynsee’s experiences. James is almost comedically unfiltered often asking Lynsee direct questions and oversharing his thoughts. Lynsee on the other hand is more indirect and is concerned about what others think of her.

Causeway makes the storytelling feel rewarding. The filmmakers take their time revealing the layers in the psyche of these characters and their histories. I really enjoy the message of healing through shared Trauma. These two characters find a way to support each other unapologetically and without restraint due to their own challenges. They give what they need. These are beautiful moments that invest you in their journey throughout the entire film.

The imagery and scenery feel like they represent the state of mind of the characters. There are indoor scenes that feel darker than others and outdoor scenes spectacularly bright. There’s a message of acceptance in swimming. Both Lynsee and James are able to find ways to hide their trauma from the world.  James’ story is tragic and Causeway unfolds his story with reverence. There’s a moment in Causeway where the dynamics between Lynsee and James shift. The scene is when James shares his traumatic experience with Lynsee and what’s important here is how Lynsee reacts.

The Bad

The pacing can be really slow. The pacing can be so slow that it can be really tough to feel any investment in the story or characters. Lynsee initially seems like she’s just living a normal life with normal everyday problems. Causeway doesn’t make it obvious that she’s experiencing any sort of trauma or disability and subtly introduces this plot point into the story. The approach feels like it’s trying to artistically reflect the nuance of her disability. It’s artistic but it can be boring waiting for the plot to reveal itself. There are only a few moments in all of Causeway where Lynsee’s disability is actually noticeable. I don’t feel any sense of consequence or risk in Lynsee’s disability because it’s not as noticeable as James’.

Another issue I have with Causeway is that there are characters, plot points, and relationships that go nowhere. We see Lynsee’s mother early in Causeway but her story never feels important. Linda Emond plays Gloria and I like her performance. The issue is that Gloria and Lynsee don’t get any meaningful moments to progress their story. They have issues but it seems more of just a thing that just happens. There’s also another plot point that Causeway introduces with Lynsee’s brother. This is a point that we hear about fairly early and Causeway only really scratches the surface of their relationship. Causeway makes a point to want to highlight how people are suffering in plain sight but it focuses more on James and Lynsee than any of these other plots.

The ending to Causeway just does not feel satisfying. The movie leaves you hanging and you want to see more by the end. Normally this is a good thing but this just feels like things aren’t finished. There are aspects of Lynsee and James’ plot that finally start to progress at the end of the film but it’s not fun feeling like the ending is missing a “To Be Continued” at the end. There is absolutely more story to tell here and Causeway chooses to “mic drop” the ending.  Maybe Causeway deserves a sequel but it feels like an incomplete story the way that it is.

Overall

This might be the first Jennifer Lawrence movie I’ve seen that isn’t a major franchise that I think is begging for a sequel. It is fun to get invested in Lynsee and James’ relationship and I wish that I could feel satisfied with their story. I love how Causeway tries to creatively handle the story but I don’t think the ending is satisfying in any way.

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Causeway Movie Review
  • Acting - 8/10
    8/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/10
    7/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6/10
    6/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
    7/10
  • Watchability - 6/10
    6/10
  • Rewatchability - 5/10
    5/10
Overall
6.5/10
6.5/10
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About Anthony Whyte

Content Manager | Senior Editor | Daydreamer | Keep your head on a swivel and don't blink