Causeway
Release poster
Directed byLila Neugebauer
Written by
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyDiego García
Edited by
Music byAlex Somers
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release dates
  • September 10, 2022 (2022-09-10) (TIFF)
  • October 28, 2022 (2022-10-28) (United States)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Causeway is a 2022 American drama film directed by Lila Neugebauer and written by Ottessa Moshfegh, Luke Goebel, and Elizabeth Sanders.[2] The film stars Jennifer Lawrence (who also produced), Brian Tyree Henry, Linda Emond, Jayne Houdyshell, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Russell Harvard. It follows a soldier struggling to adjust to her life after returning home to New Orleans.

Causeway had its premiere at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2022.[1] The film was released in select theaters on October 28, by A24, then had a streaming release on November 4, 2022, on Apple TV+. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances of Lawrence and Henry. Among other accolades, Henry was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 95th Academy Awards.[3]

Plot

Lynsey, a U.S. soldier, experiences a traumatic brain injury after an IED explosion during her tour in Afghanistan which forces her to return home in New Orleans.[4] She struggles to return to her daily life with her mother as she waits for her wish to return for redeployment. Her doctor is reluctant to sign her waiver to return as he feels that trauma is a strong link to her depression. As she improves with rehabilitation, she becomes unlikely friends with James, an auto mechanic, and reveals to him that she is a lesbian.[5] James has physical and mental trauma after a car crash in which his nephew was killed on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

Cast

Lawrence at the film's premiere in Toronto

Production

In April 2019, it was announced Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry had joined the cast of an untitled drama film, with Lila Neugebauer directing from a screenplay by Elizabeth Sanders. Lawrence, Justine Polsky, Eli Bush and Scott Rudin initially served as producers under their Excellent Cadaver and IAC Films banners, respectively, and A24 distributed it.[6][7]

Production began in the summer of 2019 in New Orleans, but was delayed due to Hurricane Barry. Production restarted in March 2020, but was once again delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was completed in the summer of 2021.[8] Lawrence and Henry continued to workshop the script together during the pandemic as a result of their chemistry and to further enrich it as their scenes were seen as the most compelling of the film.[2]

In April 2021, following allegations of abuse, Scott Rudin stepped back as a producer from the project.[9] On December 30, 2021, the WGA awarded final screenplay credit for the film to both Sanders and the team of Ottessa Moshfegh and Luke Goebel.[10]

Release

In July 2022, it was announced Apple TV+ would distribute the film.[11][12] The film had its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2022.[13] The European premiere was held on October 8, 2022, at the BFI London Film Festival.[14] It had a limited theatrical release on October 28, 2022,[15] and was released on Apple TV+ on November 4, 2022.[16]

Reception

Critical response

Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry's (left and right, respectively) performances were acclaimed by critics. It was seen as a return to form for Lawrence and one of her best performances. Henry was labeled as the scene stealer and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 85% of 168 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The website's consensus reads: "Causeway takes a powerfully subdued look at the lingering effects of trauma, led by gripping performances from Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry."[17] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 66 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[18]

Wendy Ide of The Observer awarded 4 stars out of 5, praised the film and wrote " this is a subdued, sensitive drama and Lawrence is phenomenal, giving the kind of wary, reined-in performance that made such a compelling impression in her breakthrough film, Winter’s Bone."[19] In a B+ review for Consequence, Mary Siroky wrote: "while one of the few downsides of Causeway is the lingering desire to spend more time with these characters, the film holds an excellent return to form for Jennifer Lawrence and makes a stellar case for many more leading man roles for Brian Tyree Henry," further praising Lawrence's performance as "gripping" in comparison to her work in Winter's Bone and that Henry "is so grounded here that there are moments we feel like we are intruding into his life."[20] Anna Smith for Time Out gave it 4 out of 5 stars review and wrote: "both actors are terrific: Lawrence is understated and compelling while Henry is by turns sympathetic, amusing and heartbreaking...Causeway will offer plenty for fans of thoughtful, quality dramas that touch on humanity, trauma, connection and the kindness of strangers."[21]

In a review for The Austin Chronicle, Jenny Nulf wrote: "Watching Jennifer Lawrence in a film that allows her to showcase her skills at full force after so many years without her is a welcome reminder that she’s one of our greatest living actresses [...] Lawrence and Henry do an incredible job at dancing around each other, soft smiles to communicate their pain and hardships without relying on overwritten exposition. Director Lila Neugebauer (best known in the theatre space, but who also worked on the critically acclaimed series Maid) manages to keep the tone understated, focusing on the nuances of Lawrence and Henry’s performances that carry the weight of the heavy script."[22] Adam White, giving the film 4 out of 5 stars in a review for The Independent, praised Lawrence's performance as "brilliant" (stating it as a reminder of previous acclaimed naturalistic work) and that "Henry lends each hushed gap in James’s tale the feel of a sledgehammer."[23]

Accolades

Accolades received by Causeway
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards March 12, 2023 Best Supporting Actor Brian Tyree Henry Nominated [24]
Alliance of Women Film Journalists January 5, 2023 Best Supporting Actor Nominated [25]
Austin Film Critics Association January 10, 2023 Best Supporting Actor Nominated [26]
Black Reel Awards February 6, 2023 Outstanding Supporting Actor Won [27]
Chicago Film Critics Association December 14, 2022 Best Supporting Actor Nominated [28]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 15, 2023 Best Supporting Actor Nominated [29]
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association December 19, 2022 Best Supporting Actor 4th Place [30]
Georgia Film Critics Association January 13, 2023 Best Supporting Actor Nominated [31]
Gotham Independent Film Awards November 28, 2022 Outstanding Supporting Performance Nominated [32]
Florida Film Critics Circle December 22, 2022 Best First Film Lila Neugebauer Nominated [33]
Hollywood Critics Association February 24, 2023 Best First Feature Nominated [34]
Best Supporting Actor Brian Tyree Henry Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards March 4, 2023 Best Supporting Performance Nominated [35]
Las Vegas Film Critics Society December 12, 2022 Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence Nominated [36]
Best Supporting Actor Brian Tyree Henry Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle February 5, 2023 Supporting Actor of the Year Nominated [37]
Los Angeles Film Critics Association December 11, 2022 Best Supporting Performance Runner-up [38]
National Society of Film Critics January 7, 2023 Best Supporting Actor Runner-up [39]
Online Film Critics Society January 23, 2023 Best Supporting Actor Nominated [40]
San Diego Film Critics Society January 6, 2023 Best Supporting Actor Runner-up [41]
Seattle Film Critics Society January 17, 2023 Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated [42]
Rome Film Festival October 22, 2022 Best First Feature Award Lila Neugebauer Won [43]

References

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  3. ^ France, Lisa Respers (January 24, 2023). "Ana de Armas, Brian Tyree Henry and Michelle Yeoh among first-time Oscar nominees who rule acting races". CNN. Archived from the original on February 2, 2023. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
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  5. ^ Henderson, Odie (November 3, 2022). "Jennifer Lawrence gives a career-defining performance in 'Causeway'". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on November 18, 2023. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
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