Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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“Causeway” is Brian Tyree Hill’s Best Performance

Brian Tyree Hill as James (Photo courtsey of Apple TV)

Where to Find: Apple TV Plus

Rating: R

Release: November 4th, 2022

Run time: 94 minutes

Synopsis: 

A young soldier (Jennifer Lawrence) struggles to adjust to life back in New Orleans after a traumatic war injury. Her life changes when she meets a local mechanic (Brian Tyree Henry), and they form an unlikely bond. 

What is the film about?

Whenever I hear that Brian Tyree Henry is attached to a film, I expect the film to do well and that he will put on a powerful performance. In Causeway, he does just that; this time, his performance is complemented by co-star Jennifer Lawrence. The film hardly wavers from its sad and uneasy tone, making the joyful moments more impactful. The director uses the environment of a Louisiana neighborhood (a sort of character in itself) to serve as the foundation from which Lynsey,played by Jennifer Lawrence,is trying to escape, the worn-down houses and cluttered areas. In contrast, James (played by Henry) tries to get her to see the beauty in the area, the beauty in the people, and the beauty in the little things that bring her happiness instead of re-enlisting. 

It’s evident Lynsey is emotionally (and permanently) troubled by a terrible army accident. Lawrence’s performance is compelling and draws out compassion from the audience. There are moments where we see Lynsey desperately trying to adjust to life outside of war, but she can’t shake what she is programmed to do. You can’t help but want to hug her and let her know everything will be okay. Although she struggles deeply with herself, it’s apparent she has a kind heart and doesn’t hesitate to show compassion to others. We sadly watch her struggle with severe anxiety. Water keeps her calm, which is why she gets a job as a pool cleaner because, outside of war, that is all she knows. Water is known to have a calming effect on the body. Still, its usage in Causeway appropriately represents vulnerability, as this is the only time Lynsey isn’t consumed with anxiety. The onscreen chemistry between Lawrence and Henry is powerful, as their relationship feels very organic and authentic. The relationship between Lynsey and James is less romantic and more about companionship, but there is a longing sense of love just below the surface. 

This is one of Henry’s most powerful performances. He makes the James character likable and compelling but also flawed. He tries to get Lynsey to embrace her insecurities and shortcomings, which makes James even more endearing. From his walk to his facial expressions, James can show Lynsey he is a big guy with an even bigger heart. Henry’s performance is applaud-worthy, and it’s no surprise he is nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor. 

Director Lila Neugebauer and the screenwriters accomplish the goal of highlighting mental health. After watching this film, you will understand some of the struggles soldiers face both off and on the battlefield. 

Brian Tyree Hill and Jennifer Lawrence (Photos Courtsey of Apple TV)

Final Thoughts

Causeway is an emotional film highlighting the negative effects of PTSD and how people around those who suffer from it are also affected. Not since The Hurt Locker (2008) have I seen such a memorable film displaying a veteran’s struggles to readjust to society and everyday life. The emotional performance by Brian Tyree Hill has earned him several nominations and wins, including the African American Film Critics Association award for Best Supporting Actor,Causeway is worth watching on Apple TV Plus.

Dapper Dr Feel

Felipe Patterson aka Dapper Dr. Feel, #BlackLoveConvo & Entertainment | @fdapperdr Dapper Dr. Feel is a Entertainment journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association and African American Film Association.

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