Jennifer Lawrence at the top of her game

In the race for four Oscars from 2011 to 2016, actress Jennifer Lawrence hasn’t received any nominations since. That could change thanks to La Traversée (Causeway; Apple TV).

In this brilliant film from Lila Neugebauer (Netflix’s Maid miniseries), a natural Lawrence plays Lynsey, a US Army engineer who sustained a severe brain injury during an attack in Afghanistan.

Forced to relearn the simplest gestures of everyday life and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the young woman clings and manages to find a semblance of normal life.

It is then that she meets James (Brian Tyree Henry, reminiscent of a young Bernie Mac), a mechanic who also has a very traumatic past. Lynsey and James will then clumsily try to help each other in their search for a little bit of happiness.

Hundreds of movies have been made about the difficult return of soldiers to civilian life and the nightmare of PTSD. In my humble opinion, The Crossing is one of the most intimate, most human, most accomplished and most moving of all.

I will not hide from you, the subject is heavy and certainly will not allow anyone to forget the gray of everyday life with a good laugh.

However, it is possible to appreciate The Crossing for a number of reasons, starting with its resemblance to the five-time Oscar-winning Silver Lining Playbook (2012). The two works not only present Lawrence, but tell the story of two different and unhappy beings who grow up supporting each other.

It’s also hard to remain numb to the greatness of the dialogue between the two flayed who are Lynsey and Brian. Simple, visceral, sad, heavy exchanges that Lawrence and Henry deliver with stunning ease.

Ironically, the film’s most moving moment comes near the end, when Lawrence leads a conversation in sign language. Non seulement la jeune femme n’a jamais été aussi bonne (sans pronouncer la moindre parole!), mais ce moment synthétise parfaitement un film où les silences et les non dits ont advantage de poids et de portée que les dialogues – aussi exceptionnels soient- they.

The journey is also a magnificent reflection of that reflex that we humans have to isolate ourselves after an ordeal. The film rightly reminds us that healing often involves externalizing one’s own pain and comforting others.

On this topic, some might feel that Lynsey and Brian’s characters should have been fleshed out more (apart from their propensity to wallow in their misfortune). I rather consider it a brilliant choice of the writers, the human afflicted or beaten by the essay tending to see life only through the optics of his misfortune.

So don’t be intimidated by the heaviness of The Crossing’s themes. Trust me, your humanity and artistic merits more than make up for it.

(Four and a half stars out of five)

Christmas falls on time

In her first big project in a little over a decade, comedian Lindsay Lohan gives a robotic performance in Netflix’s bland Christmas rom-com Falling for Christmas.

A Disney child star in the late 1990s and a young woman adored for her film roles and music in the early 2000s, Lohan saw her career take a nosedive due to addiction issues.

Here she is again, at 36, in the title role of a movie bought and then heavily promoted by Netflix. Lohan plays an arrogant, shallow and stupid rich kid who loses his memory one day after a skiing accident.

When she awakens, she falls under the spell of a handsome struggling hotel owner, who has been raising his son alone since the death of his wife. In contact with him, the capricious person becomes a better person. But what will happen when she finds out that she was engaged before the accident?

I have watched and rated close to 450 movies as Acadie Nouvelle reviews and Noël falls à pic is one of the worst.

Only 8 year old girls can enjoy it. Why? Because they are the only ones who will not notice the cartoonish humor, the lack of naturalness of the actors, the poverty of the special effects, the laziness of the script, the avalanche of clichés and the horror of what passes for dialogue.

Skip this pathetic turnip. Instead, enjoy Elf (2003), Polar Express (2004), Home Alone (1990), or A Christmas Story (1983).

(Half a star out of five)

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