Causeway ending explained: Does Lynsey return to Afghanistan?

Causeway highlights a soldier’s attempts to acclimate to her life after returning home to New Orleans. The 2022 American psychological drama film is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion in Afghanistan left Lynsey, a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers, with a crippling brain injury which made her return to the United States.

With the help of a talkative but compassionate caregiver, she relearns how to walk and retrains her memory throughout a painfully long recuperation. In the process of getting well, she experiences nightmares, depression, and fury.

When she travels to her hometown, New Orleans, while on medication, she has to face memories that are much more painful and formative than the ones she experienced while serving. To be cleared for redeployment, Lynsey must first complete a lengthy recuperation process, the doctor reminds her.

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Lynsey gets a job as a pool cleaner and starts residing with her mother, with whom she has a strained relationship, but all she wants to do is to get back to her engineering job.

When her pickup truck breaks down, she runs across James Aucoin, a mechanic who offers her a ride home. They gradually come to rely on one another for companionship and comfort. It turns out that James is likewise repressing his own childhood trauma.

Lynsey talks to James about her experience in the military and how having a challenging upbringing ultimately led her to leave her own country.

James, on the other hand, discloses that he was engaged in a vehicle accident that left his nephew, Antoine, dead and broke his leg. James has been living alone ever since Jess, his sister, moved out.

The majority of Lynsey’s time is spent working and smoking with James. She bounces back rapidly, and her development suggests that she could soon be qualified for redeployment.

James and Lynsey swim in the pool belonging to one of Lynsey’s clients, one day. James spends the evening regretting his careless actions that resulted in Antoine’s death.

Lynsey tries to console James by kissing him, but the incident sets them at odds. As the fight between them intensifies, Lynsey is forced to face her genuine sentiments about her hometown and consider if she actually wants to join the army again.

Causeway ending explained in detail:

Does Lynsey cope with her own trauma?

Lynsey feels trapped in her hometown, which fuels her desire to leave. Lynsey explains that she has experienced trauma since she was a little child to James.

Although Lynsey’s childhood trauma is not explicitly explored in the movie, it is indicated that it has led to a lifelong quest for respect.

Lynsey’s connections with her mother, her attraction to the military, and her disagreement with James all imply that she endured neglect as a child.

Is Lynsey redeployed?

Lynsey comes home after her heated disagreement with James and muses over her future. She goes to her doctor in the hopes that she will be cleared to rejoin the military.

The doctor finds that Lynsey has nearly fully healed from her brain damage at her checkup but refuses to approve her redeployment. The doctor is adamant that Lynsey might die in the event of another similar occurrence.

To be eligible for redeployment, Lynsey persuades the physician to sign the waiver. After receiving permission to get reenlisted, Lynsey visits her brother Justin, a drug dealer who was convicted and sentenced to jail.

Lynsey and Justin use sign language to communicate their deepest feelings to one another. The touching incident serves as a reminder to Lynsey that she still has time to make progress in her life.

Her interaction with Justin starkly shows that Lynsey has never tackled her psychological concerns. She chooses not to reenlist as a result and thinks of a different plan for life.

Do James and Lynsey rekindle their friendship?

Later, when Lynsey picks up her truck from James’ garage, she finds out that the repairs were done at no cost to her.

The modest action suggests that James deeply admires Lynsey and that her kissing him out of pity caused him legitimate grief. Lynsey concludes that she cannot abuse others around her as a result of her experience.

To atone for her actions, Lynsey goes to James’ house. She asks whether his offer to move in with him still stands while offering him a beer. Lynsey expresses her thoughts to James about spending time together and keeping each other company while they go through a trying moment in their lives.

Lynsey ultimately chooses to look into the possibilities of letting go of her trauma since she feels that her life is progressing when she is with James. However, before James replies, the scene ends leaving their fate ambiguous but hopefully positive.

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