Causeway ending explained – why does Lyndsey want to go back to Afghanistan?

November 4, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
Apple TV+, Ending Explained, Film, Streaming Service
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We discuss the ending of the Apple TV+ film Causeway, which will contain significant spoilers.

Throughout Causeway, Jennifer Lawrence’s Lynsey is trying to go back for another tour in Afghanistan. This is unusual, especially with another film opening recently, All Quiet on the Western Front, being an anti-war film where everyone is trying to make it home. Lynsey is trying to pull a Hurt Locker and get back into the fray. The other reason why this is questionable is that Lynsey suffered a brain bleed after surviving an improvised explosive device (IED) bombing on her convoy. Multiple soldiers were shot and killed, while the man she sat beside was set on fire. The emotional toll of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) possibly outweighs physical injuries.

Why does Lyndsey want to go back to Afghanistan? Why would someone do that? Yes, it could be a calling, but as Lynsey points out to her neurologist, she also suffers from trauma and anxiety from her childhood. (Something Lynsey does not go into detail about). This fact could explain why this wounded warrior wants to get out of town so badly, and the military is still her most viable option to escape. She grabs a job cleaning swimming pools along the way, and her truck breaks down. Lynsey stops at the nearest mechanic and then forms a friendship with a man who owns an auto repair shop, James (Brian Tyree Henry). A man who has a trauma of his own. He was in a car accident that cost him part of his left leg, below his knee.

Both Lynsey and James form a connection and friendship at this point, joined by a shared experience of trauma. Not the same experience, mind you, but the same feelings of anxiety, anger, fear, even depression, and especially guilt. One of the new wrinkles in Lynsey’s personality like speaking with blunt honesty without thinking. She does this with James after she kisses him after hearing his story. He let his nephew sit in the front seat without putting his seatbelt on or sitting in a child’s seat. He was killed, but his sister, who he no longer speaks to, survived.

How? He asks why she kissed him, and her response is she felt so bad for him. In all likelihood, Lynsey develops a deeper connection with James based on their shared traumatic experiences, but she does not know how to articulate it. James fixes Lynsey’s car for free but will no longer speak to her because he feels now like a charity case. Lynsey works on herself and is cleared to return to work. Even though her doctor will sign the waiver, she changes her mind after talking to her brother. However, she must make one more stop before deciding where she wants to go with her life.

Causeway ending explained

After talking to her mother, brother, doctor, and one of James’s employees, Lynsey drives to his home to talk to him. She now wants to stay and move in with him. She effectively took him up on the offer he had made weeks prior. He is skeptical at first because he feels Lynsey doesn’t know what she wants. However, Lynsey says she is not returning to the military.

Why? That’s because she has a friend she likes to cook, smoke, or drink coffee with. There is the issue of the kiss, and I think this could lead James to believe she has romantic feelings for him. However, they never get that far. By the time the film ends, James looks like he has forgiven her.

By not going to Afghanistan, Lynsey finally has some reason to stay in New Orleans, besides the café au laits, gumbo, chicory coffee, and beignets. Whether it is just a friendship or a relationship that can develop into more down the road, Lynsey is ready to take a chance. This is a change in behavior for her. Instead of running away again, she is nesting. This could be a sign she has been dealing with all her trauma and managing it.

By Lyndsey hinting at a past trauma before the military, we could even surmise she had a “death” wish by returning, or even the military was a way to drown out the pain. Either way, Lynsey makes a human connection for the first time in a while and wants this to last for as long as possible.

What did you think of the ending of the film Causeway? Comment below.

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