This deliberately slow, talky film about two broken people trying to put their lives back together features great performances from Lawrence and Henry. Causeway director Lila Neugebauer smartly lets the camera linger on the two main characters, never hurried, and captures as much emotion in their gestures and looks as in their dialogue.
But the film does lull at times, perhaps because it's portraying two characters who are themselves stuck. Lynsey and James are both grappling with trauma that they don't quite know how to face. A doctor tells Lynsey that trauma has a stronger link to depression than smoking does to cancer. Her nurse warns her to take it slow, but her mom doesn't seem to fully believe there's anything wrong. Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jayne Houdyshell and Emond are all excellent in these supporting roles.
Causeway adds to a growing body of movies about the impact of the United States' "forever" wars, taking a less common perspective by centering a female veteran. But Lynsey isn't the movie's sole focus or the only character overcoming trauma.
Lynsey and James form an unlikely pair, and that's a big part of what makes this film interesting. Their conversations feel real, for the most part, as does the way they seem wary of each other at first and only slowly reveal personal details.
There also appears to be symbolism in Lynsey's pool-cleaning job. She eventually has to clean her own pool, and though she's an expert at holding her breath, she also has to come up for air. She semi-jokes that she's been holding her breath for 26 years.
The film's slow pace dovetails with its location: It feels like we're on New Orleans time, with frequent mention of the heat and street scenes that capture the city's many contrasts and colors.
There's a lot here to appreciate, but the story and its slow-moving stride won't be for everyone.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.
Images courtesy of Apple TV+.