In “Causeway,” the new drama directed by Lila Neugebauer, Oscar-winning
actress Jennifer Lawrence plays Lynsey, a military engineer who has
returned to the States from Afghanistan with a debilitating brain injury
after an IED explosion.
It's a painful and slow recovery as she relearns to walk and re-trains her
memory, aided by a chatty but tender caretaker (Jayne Houdyshell). But when
she returns home to New Orleans she has to face memories even more aching
and formative than those she had in service: a reckoning with her
Staying with her mother (Linda Emond), with whom she shares a tense
relationship, all Lynsey wants to do is return to her work as an engineer.
Her doctor (Stephen McKinley Henderson) is wary, and so in the meantime,
she gets a job cleaning pools. When her truck breaks down she meets James
Aucoin (Brian Tyree Henry), who works at the auto repair shop and offers
her a ride home. Slowly they start to rely on each other for company and
solace. James, it turns out, is also suppressing his own past trauma.
These two damaged souls' budding friendship forms the center and the heart
of Neugebauer's debut feature—a quiet but devastating, and ultimately
uplifting, story about coming to terms and moving forward.