Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
2015 Tribeca Film Festival Line-Up Announced: James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries,’ Olivia Wilde In ‘Meadowland’ & More 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Line-Up Announced: James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries,’ Olivia Wilde In ‘Meadowland’ & More First Look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Edward Snowden In Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' First Look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Edward Snowden In Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' Drew Goddard To Write And Direct Sony & Marvel's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'; 'Sinister Six' Scrapped Drew Goddard To Write And Direct Sony & Marvel's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'; 'Sinister Six' Scrapped Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Picture Contenders Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Picture Contenders Watch: Original Short Film Version Of 'Whiplash' Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons Watch: Original Short Film Version Of 'Whiplash' Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons Watch: Nifty Video Examines David Fincher’s Subtle Repetition Of Framing And Blocking In 'Gone Girl' Watch: Nifty Video Examines David Fincher’s Subtle Repetition Of Framing And Blocking In 'Gone Girl' Sigourney Weaver Says She'll Be Playing A New Character In The 'Avatar' Sequels Sigourney Weaver Says She'll Be Playing A New Character In The 'Avatar' Sequels Margot Robbie Says 'Suicide Squad' Is More 'The Dark Knight' Than 'Avengers'; David Ayer Says Joker Is "Majestic" Margot Robbie Says 'Suicide Squad' Is More 'The Dark Knight' Than 'Avengers'; David Ayer Says Joker Is "Majestic" Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt’s Untitled Montana Drama With Michelle Williams & More Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt’s Untitled Montana Drama With Michelle Williams & More Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson's Sophomore Short 'Cigarettes & Coffee' Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson's Sophomore Short 'Cigarettes & Coffee' Another Oscar? First Look At Eddie Redmayne In Tom Hooper's 'The Danish Girl' Another Oscar? First Look At Eddie Redmayne In Tom Hooper's 'The Danish Girl' 'Prisoners' & 'Enemy' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Harrison Ford Confirmed To Return 'Prisoners' & 'Enemy' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Harrison Ford Confirmed To Return The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To 'Elysium' And "Do It Correctly" "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To 'Elysium' And "Do It Correctly" New Looks At Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, And Lea Seydoux In 'Spectre' New Looks At Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, And Lea Seydoux In 'Spectre' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

Review: Lesbian Drama 'Concussion' Starring Robin Weigert

The Playlist By Gabe Toro | The Playlist October 4, 2013 at 5:03PM

Robin Weigert is an actress of intriguing, indistinct beauty. She could be your teacher, your mother, your librarian or your sister-in-law. It likely makes her the best fit for “Concussion,” an intriguing, vaguely European indie drama. Her Abby is a wife and a mother, as well as an upstanding member of a suburban community. All these things are believable. Somehow, as a prostitute, smiling wanly as she caresses and cuddles her clients, she makes that much more sense. Anyone who saw Weigert steal absolutely every scene as the wily Calamity Jane in HBO’s flawless “Deadwood” understands this dichotomy well: there are few things sexier than wearing various faces.
2
Concussion

Robin Weigert is an actress of intriguing, indistinct beauty. She could be your teacher, your mother, your librarian or your sister-in-law. It likely makes her the best fit for “Concussion,” an intriguing, vaguely European indie drama. Her Abby is a wife and a mother, as well as an upstanding member of a suburban community. All these things are believable. Somehow, as a prostitute, smiling wanly as she caresses and cuddles her clients, she makes that much more sense. Anyone who saw Weigert steal absolutely every scene as the wily Calamity Jane in HBO’s flawless “Deadwood” understands this dichotomy well: there are few things sexier than wearing various faces.

At the start of director Stacie Passon’s film, that face is bloodied, the result of a mundane accident roughhousing with her children. It’s diagnosed as a concussion, one that subtly changes what has become a ho-hum existence. There’s a routine she shares with her wife, one that relies on comfortable dinners, picking the kids up from school, and shared time with bullshitting neighbors. While there’s little dialogue in the film to show this, Weigert’s growing awareness is like a sixth sense suddenly forming. The injury has caused her world to expand. And that involves increased carnal desires.

Concussion

Her first impulse lands a female prostitute in her bed. Not fully understanding the marketplace, her first is a shady off-brand lesbian she meets in a dimly-lit apartment. Squirrely and aggressive, she offers her drugs to Abby, before mounting her inexperienced john and having her way. The second one is decidedly more upscale, a slinky med school student, and the two of them have instant chemistry. Sharing a mutual orgasm, she suggests Abby explore her sensual side for a living, and Weigert’s face lights up like it’s the best compliment she’s received in ages. Judging by her passion-less rapport with her wife, and the passive-aggressive judgment of the local harridans who work out at the gym with her, it probably is.

Not only is there a market for the services of a mature, fortysomething woman with a quiet (and secretly newfound) confidence, but business is booming. Her clients are a dubious subset of New Yorkers, most of whom are very attractive, photogenic women, all of them white. One virginal plus-sized client, a college student, feels real and awkward, though it seems somewhat implausible that a student would continuously be able to afford Abby’s $800-a-session going rate. Equally unbelievable is when Abby learns that her employer is actually a pint-sized female law student, a flighty pipsqueak completely oblivious to the level of legal and physical risk of her profession.

Concussion

Passon leans on montages and explicit bedroom scenes to illustrate Abby’s transformation, but they fail to communicate as much as Weigert’s expressions. As yet under-exploited by filmmakers, Weigert’s full range of emotion is quite staggering: she can be funny, maternal, and flirty all at once, and in a film that relies on her so greatly, she is endlessly watchable. You could write a sonnet about her physicality when she meets each of her johns, sizing them up, circling them, running a hand across their under-explored bodies. This is a frequently titillating film, and Weigert can’t help but add dimensions to that onscreen intimacy and vivid exploration of intimacy, not just seduction but also the shared sensuality of a post-coital chat.

Passon’s film nevertheless can’t resist the allure of some low-hanging fruit. The gossip-mongers who make up the local mommy brigade (including Janel Maloney of “The West Wing”) start to bore the newly awakened Abby, though their inane chatter suggests that Abby should have always been too smart for their one-dimensional complaints. And Abby’s backgrounded struggles with her wife (Julie Fain Lawrence) feel ported over from a generic film about a heterosexual couple. Abby’s later flirtation with a curious heterosexual housewife (Maggie Siff) proves to be a conventional third act distraction meant to give closure to an open-ended notion, that sex-work is ultimately no way to make a living. It’s a weirdly judgmental end to something that Weigert’s performance contradicts. It’s difficult to present characters with conflicting desires when an actress of her caliber is so clearly conveying that, yes, you can have it all. [B-]


This article is related to: Reviews, Review, Concussion, Robin Weigert


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates