Concussion (2013)

Concussion
Director: Stacie Passon
Writer: Stacie Passon
Cast: Robin Weigert, Julie Fain LawrenceMaggie SiffJohnathan Tchaikovsky, Emily Kinney, Janel Moloney, Funda Duval, Claudine Ohayon, Janel Moloney
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 14.6.2015

Plot:
Abby (Robin Weigert) leads the perfect suburban life with her wife Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence) and their two children. But that perfection is on the surface only and when Abby gets hit in the head with a baseball, it serves as a wake up call. She starts looking into fulfillment outside of her home. At first that only means renovating an apartment to resell it, then to sex work: first as a customer, but then also as a sex worker herself.

Concussion didn’t win me over entirely, but it did have more than enough qualities to leave me leaning decidedly towards the positive side.

Concussion

It was interesting to get the “suburban ennui” setting with a lesbian couple for once, since more often than not, lesbians are either portrayed as fiery and oversexualized; or as prudish, bitter and man-hating. Of course, with its focus on sex and Abby’s sex work, it veers towards sexualization again, but I thought that Passon nicely managed to keep the balance and not have it become all about sex (particularly due to the absence of the male gaze). It is, in the end, about Abby’s need to break out of a sterile life, a life that is beautifully underscored by the set design of the film: all white and grey. Though I have to say that the sex scenes were really well shot, so when the film was about sex, it looked just great, too.

Abby and her development are the heart and center of the film and Robin Weigert does a wonderful job every step of the way. The cast is generally good, but Weigert was absolutely fantastic.

Screen Shot 2012-01-25 at 11.35.23 AM | Jan 25Sometimes the film is a little off. When it comes to Justin (Jonathan Tchaikovsky) and the Girl (Emily Kinney), it strains credulity that they and their escorting business would be so conveniently within Abby’s reach, but they never pushed it so far that they completely lost me. [Maybe escorting is just much more common than I think. Who knows?] Or when it comes to Abby’s fat customer (unfortunately I forgot her name): I loved that we got to see a fat woman, at all and then in a role about her sexuality and her body. But I didn’t love that she had never been kissed before. I am fat, and I had my share of kisses without ever buying any, and I would have loved it hadn’t been portrayed as super special that somebody would look sexually at a fat person. It’s not that rare. The story would have worked just fine if she had had experiences, but was still insecure. But what I loved even less is that she mentions that she wants to lose weight after gaining confidence. As if you couldn’t possibly be confident and fat and happy with it.

But that was only a minor plot that I might have paid too much attention to. Altogether I really liked the film, although I have ambivalent feelings about its ambiguous ending. I liked the openness, but I would have also liked a little more resolution. But that’s complaining on a very high level.

Concussion2Summarizing: Definitely worth seeing.

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