Jennifer Lawrence’s Causeway Is A Quiet Film With Big Performances

Jennifer Lawrence in Causeway
(Image credit: AppleTV+)

Jennifer Lawrence isn’t afraid to challenge herself as an actress. She’s done blockbusters, indie films, comedies, and movies that push the boundaries of the cinematic experience. Because she’s willing to take chances, Lawrence is also not afraid to be in an unpopular movie. The dedication to her craft allows her to give everything to her performances. Her latest film, Causeway, is no exception. She and Brian Tyree Henry give the film an overflow of on-screen talent.

The story is about two people whose physical and emotional scars almost make this world unlivable for them. However, their bond allows a little bit of happiness and comfort in this often dark world. 

I was able to attend an early screening of Causeway at the Chicago International Film Festival, and I can’t wait for more people to see it. It’s definitely a movie that will enter the 2023 Academy Award conversation—especially for the performances. 

This may be Lawrence’s best since her Academy Award-winning performance in Silver Linings Playbook.  

Brian Tyree Henry and Jennifer Lawrence in Causeway

(Image credit: AppleTV+)

The Basics Of Causeway  

Causeway is a film about a soldier who survives an incident while in Afghanistan but must undergo rehab to try to regain full mobility because of a traumatic brain injury. She eventually ends up back in her hometown, the last place she wants to be. It isn’t a war film or even part of the films about war club in the typical sense, but it’s about an ongoing battle of inner demons and the sometimes overwhelming cycle of suffering that comes with humanity.

The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as Lynsey and Brian Tyree Henry as James. Linda Emond plays Lynsey’s mother, Gloria, and Stephen McKinley Henderson plays Lynsey’s doctor. The film has a 92-minute run-time, and the official release will be on AppleTV+ on November 4. It’s currently making the rounds at several film festivals, including the Chicago International Film Festival and  Toronto International Film Festival.

Jennifer Lawrence in Causeway

(Image credit: AppleTV+)

Jennifer Lawrence Gives One Of Her Best Performances Ever 

Jennifer Lawrence has given many great performances over the course of her career. However, there is something so raw, real, and mesmerizing about her performance in Winter’s Bone. It’s also one of her more toned-down, organic, and powerful roles. That movie showed that Lawrence is really good at playing people in distress. 

Her performance in Causeway is the next level up from that one. It’s one of her few performances that doesn’t require big moments. She doesn’t need to scream, shout, cry, rage, cheer, or give any big movie emotions to connect with the audience. Yet we still feel everything this character feels. 

It’s all done in such a subtle manner that makes it feel genuinely human. Others may disagree, but I think this is her best performance yet. She has some great upcoming projects, but they’ll have to be exceptional to compete with the quiet execution of her role here. 

Brian Tyree Henry in Causeway

(Image credit: AppleTV+)

Brian Tyree Henry May Get The Oscar Nomination He Deserves 

Brian Tyree Henry is an actor who commands your attention whenever he’s onscreen. Many of the best Atlanta episodes have his character, Paper Boi, at the center because, similar to Lawrence, viewers can depend on Henry to give his all to a performance. He is often the standout in many of his projects.

For example, Widows is full of great actors and performances, but even in such an elite ensemble, he makes an impression. His performances in both projects are just a few of his many great performances. He's no stranger to award recognition, receiving nominations for the Emmys, Tonys, Screen Actors Guild awards, NAACP Image Awards, and many more. Despite his impressive resume, he has yet to receive an Academy Award nomination.

In the next few months, we’ll see and hear about a lot of great award-worthy performances, but it would truly be a shame if Brian Tyree Henry doesn’t receive a nomination for his role in Causeway. His performance is just as subtle and powerful as Lawrence’s work.

The actor is able to break your heart with just a look - a rare skill in the acting world. In Causeway, Henry allows his character to be vulnerable in so many ways that you instantly feel the sadness surrounding him. 

This makes the big tragedy of his life all the more suffocating and heartbreaking to watch. Seeing he and his co-star together is like watching a tennis match between two long-time champions. They’re evenly matched and the real winners are the audience who gets to see and experience their joint magic.

Causeway feels like just a snippet of some of the great upcoming Brian Tyree Henry roles, and it’s one more than worthy of attention and praise. 

Jennifer Lawrence in Causeway

(Image credit: AppleTV+)

Causeway Is A Thoughtful Character Study 

Causeway isn’t a film where there is a lot going on in terms of action and plot. Like real life, much of it is just people hanging around talking. It’s a film that focuses on highlighting these characters and less about having grandiose movie moments or being concerned that an audience isn’t entertained enough. 

It knows these characters are enough to create a fascinating tale of loss, loneliness, regret, and finding someone who truly understands you and your pain.

Lynsey and James are the focus, but I found myself also drawn to Gloria and Justin (Russell Harvard). I wanted to know more about the sadness behind their eyes. There are very few characters in the movie, so it’s able to use whatever time it has with them to communicate who they are and their struggles. 

You don’t need detailed backstories to understand some of what’s causing them pain. It feels organic in a way that many films don’t dare to be these days. It knows that a simple shot with two people leaving a lot unsaid can be more than enough to connect with an audience. 

This isn’t a film that needs a billion rewatches to unpack everything, but it is one that allows the audience to reflect with it. This may make additional viewings even more profound. 

Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry give really riveting performances in Causeway and that‘s enough to add it to your upcoming movies must-watch list. It will be available to stream on AppleTV+ (opens in new tab) on November 4. 

Jerrica Tisdale
Freelance Writer

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.