Sundance Journal: ‘Concussion’

A lesbian housewife is conked in the head by a softball. She’s never the same.

Even though the movie sports the title ‘Concussion’, little is made about the actual head injury Abby (Robin Weigert from ‘Deadwood’) suffers at the beginning of the movie. However, because of the title, we can deduce that every change Abby undergoes throughout the movie can be traced back to that wound.

Abby’s never quite the same after her encounter with the ball. It’s like she wakes up the next morning and realizes that her long-time relationship with her partner Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence) completely lacks any romantic spark. The two of them have been stuck in a rut for far too long. Kate rejects Abby’s advances for sex. Their two kids can feel the tension between their parents.

Not satisfied with the love she’s getting from Kate, Abby turns to Craigslist. She meets up with a random prostitute. It helps her satiate her appetite for sex, but not romance. Her close friend refers her to a high-priced escort. After that experience, Abby becomes an escort herself, catering to college age girls looking for a more mature woman.

‘Concussion’ is a sensual journey of eroticism without being vulgar. Abby’s various encounters with other women looking for company help her to find her own way through life. Nothing feels contrived for titillation. The focus is on the natural wants and needs of any sexual being. Abby simply wants to have something that feels like love in her life, and she finds it through her new job.

Weigert delivers one of the best performances I saw at the festival this year. She’s sexy and confident. She demands your attention when she’s on screen.

Director Stacie Passon does a magnificent job photographing a movie that mainly takes place in a one-room studio apartment. Even with limited locales, the film feels like it has a rich texture.

This was one of the movies that really surprised me at Sundance. It could’ve easily tried too hard to play up the girl-on-girl action and left the humanistic drama by the wayside. Instead, the film welds the two aspects together into a cohesive whole. ‘Concussion’ is every bit as endearing as it is erotic.

Rating: ★★★½☆

1 comment

  1. JM

    Would Stacie Passon be an interesting writer-director if you took away the lesbian prostitution?

    Is the artist more brilliant than the story, or the story than the artist?

    Is she the next David Fincher or the next Neil LaBute?

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