Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: 58th Chicago International Film Festival

Jennifer Lawrence Produces and Stars in “Causeway” at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival

“Causeway,” Jennifer Lawrence.

Jennifer Lawrence has been largely quiet, of late, perhaps primarily because she got married (2019) and had a child, Cy (2022).She founded a production company, Excellent Cadaver, and that company, with Lawrence as producer and star, just completed “Causeway,” co-starring Brian Tyree Henry and directed by Lila Neugebauer. The film screened at the 58th annual Chicago International Film Festival and will open November 4th, 2022.

The weakest thing about the film is the screenplay , written by Luke Goebel, Ottessa Moshfegh and Elizabeth Sanders (who, it should be noted, are fiction writers converting to the screenwriting game). The plot meanders around with little depth or direction. It has no real “ending.” Various facets of the lead character, Lynsey, are explored and dropped into the plot, much like someone making soup out of whatever ingredients might be on hand in their refrigerator. Lynsey is a veteran. Lynsey wants to return to active duty, despite having been brain-damaged by the explosion of an IED in Afghanistan. Lynsey is a lesbian. Lynsey knows sign language and has a deaf brother, who dealt drugs and is in prison (where Mom has never visited him.) There was never any prior lead-up to the deaf brother facet of the film, but it appears to have been a desire to work with the actor Russell Harvard, who is deaf in real life and whose work Lawrence and company admired.

At the beginning of the film, we learn that Jennifer’s character (Lynsey) has been in an accident, since she is checking into a residential facility to be assisted with things as basic as brushing her teeth.  It did not immediately scream IED explosion in Afghanistan, but we gradually find this out. She improves rapidly returning to her childhood home in New Orleans and revisiting a troubled relationship with an unreliable mother (played by Linda Emond).

There are little more than fleeting references to Lynsey’s long-term issues with her mother. That is just one of the unexplored bits of business, like her brother’s earlier drug addiction, imprisonment, or deafness.

The most important relationship that is developed after Lynsey’s return from Afghanistan (and release from the residential treatment house)  comes about when her mother’s truck breaks down. Lynsey takes the vehicle to a garage where James Aucoin (Brian Tyree Henry, Lemon in “Bullet Train”) befriends her and becomes her sole friend. Birds of a feather flock together, and both are dealing with memories of horrible traumas that nearly killed them, and changed the course of their lives forever.

This willingness to drop a juicy potential plot conflict into the soup and then walk away isn’t just a flaw for Lawrence’s character. It  extends to co-star Brian Tyree Henry’s traumas, including the loss of one leg in a bad car accident that killed a small child and injured his live-in lady love. The exact nature of this accident is very briefly limned. All the details remain slightly confusing and unexplored.

This film takes us back to Jennifer Lawrence’s break-through role in “Winter’s Bone.” “Causeway” has that grainy feeling of genuine reality. You realize, while watching it, that this is no expensive blockbuster film the likes of Lawrence’s most famous roles, but is an indie film, well-acted by the principals. She is very good in it; I was disappointed that the writing was not more expertly crafted for the actors’ skillful interpretations. It’s not the only fine effort limited by the weakness of the script.

The problem is that the script goes nowhere, has no “ended” feeling, and simply leaves us scratching our heads and wondering why the writers opened up multiple myriad plot lines  and then abandoned most of them.  It’s nice to see that Jennifer Lawrence is still willing to appear in such slice- of -life films, but—aside from her as-always competent job— “Causeway” is eminently forgettable. It lacks a coherent conflict-based structure that can sustain the audience’s interest. It just rambles to a close with the feeling that none of the plot avenues laid out has reached any sort of conclusion, which is a disappointing cinematic experience for the audience.

This Apple original film premieres on November 4, 2022.



“Decision to Leave:” South Korean Film Screens at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival

A detective investigating a man’s death in the mountains ends up meeting and developing feelings for the dead man’s mysterious wife in the course of his dogged sleuthing.

Release date: October 14, 2022 (USA)

Director: Park Chan-woo

Screenplay: Park Chan-wookJeong Seo-GyeongSeo-kyeong Jeong

Cinematography: Ji-yong Kim

Nominations: Cannes Best Director AwardPalme d’Or,


“Decision to Leave,” another South Korean nail-biter.

South Korea’s Park Chan-wook’s newest work has been selected as South Korea’s submission for the Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards, and Park Chan-wook won the Best Director Award, the Palme d’Or, at Cannes.


The film stars Park Hae-il (“Memories of Murder”) as police detective Hae-jun. While investigating the death of her husband , Hae-jun, who either fell or was pushed from atop a mountain he has just climbed, the detective becomes obsessed with the widow, Seo-ra, played by Chinese actress Tang Wei. Seo-ra. The detective learns that the beautiful widow helped her sick mother commit suicide and, as the film proceeds, her innocence becomes more and more dubious.  As the screenplay puts it, “Killing is like smoking; only the first time is hard.” When her mother and her husbands begin dropping like flies, the detective and others are skeptical of Seo-ra’s innocence.


If I may stray from the plot for a moment, this film has more devotion to  smoking up a storm than the film noir Bogart years. It reminded me how times have changed. I remember when smoking was considered “cool” and everyone savvy and in-the-know smoked. Given the fact that now we know how many serious illnesses are caused or exacerbated by smoking, I’ve read that Hollywood studios are currently faced with air brushing out the cigarettes in the hands of lead actors in films of that era, leaving them holding their hands in weird positions when the cigarettes, themselves, disappear.

There is also an emphasis in this film on modern-day technology, especially on cell phones and smart watches. Add in that age-old malady, insomnia, from which the lead investigator suffers, and “Decision to Leave” harkens back to the heavy influence of Alfred Hitchcock’s films on the young filmmaker.

As Katie Walsh of the “Tribune News Service” said in her piece on Director Park Chan-wook, “In its themes and style, the film pays tribute to the work of Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, whose “Vertigo” inspired Park Chan-wook, as a young film student and critic, to make his own films.”


The film runs 2 hours and 18 minutes and opened in theaters on October 14, 2022.



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