Where I Watched It: Apple Plus
Audio Description Provided By: Pixel logic
Narrated By: Darren Polish
i know the last time I saw Jennifer Lawrence in a film it was Don’t look up, but somehow, even though that wasn’t that long ago, it feels like she’s been taking a conscious break, or being really selective. That’s why I kind of wonder what drew her to Causeway.
In Causeway, Lawrence plays a veteran who has experienced extreme trauma that has messed with her ability to remember things. She even has to relearn certain things like driving, as well as names, and some really basic structures of her life. As she fights back against this loss, there’s also a strong will to return to active duty. Eventually, her story is told, as to what happened, but it’s never really explored in precise detail why she wants to return. You could take some inferences from certain elements, but since this film barely has a supporting cast, her interactions with anyone who isn’t Brian Tyler Henry are extremely limited.
That being said, for a film basically about two people both moving on from very separate traumas, these actors do fine work. Henry really has some powerful moments, as even though he’s a supporting character, his whole story feels a lot more well defined, and less ambiguous. Lawrence is a bit all over the map in terms of character motivation or backstory, which might be kind of the point in a memory loss film, but it does very little to further her as a person or allow Lawrence the freedom to truly expand this role.
Aside from Henry, her interactions with maybe the next four supporting characters are extremely limited. She is given a case worker at the beginning, who is gone after about the first 15-20 minutes. There’s a brother that’s in one scene. She sees a therapist, but that’s more of a plot device for her to open up about her war experience. So other than Henry, her biggest interaction is with her mother, and that is one of those ships passing in the night relationships.
This limited contact causes all her growth to come only from Henry, who is almost a stranger to her. He’s not a love interest, and if not for a chance meeting, and shared circumstances, this film would have just been… I don’t know.
Sometimes, a film is trying so hard to be independent, or be what it thinks critics will like, that it fails to sit back and look at the bigger picture. There are a lot of missed opportunities here, and that’s why Lawrence will be absent from many Best Actress selections this year. It’s not that she isn’t good, it’s that the role is limited. Henry on the other hand, as a supporting player, has a much richer character, and a very impactful moment. he’s a terrific actor who might not be as well known as Lawrence, but he shows here that he’s just as talented.
The audio description for this could ahve done a lot more. i realized after the fact, i didn’t really know anything about what this film looked like. I know she wears a uniform at one point, but there’s very little focus on interiors or exteriors of houses, various wardrobe changes, and things that could help a really simple sleepy film feel like there’s something there. By giving this film a bare bones audio description, it almost amplifies how naked it really is.
I’m going a little big higher than you might have thought, because Henry and Lawrence take up all the screentime, and they deliver really solid performances that I enjoyed, that could have been so much better if the script had taken the time, or if there was an effort to notice where this film falls short.
Final Grade: C+