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  • Concussion | Review

    SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2013

    By | January 27, 2013

    Concussion

    Director: Stacie Passon

    Writer: Stacie Passon

    Starring: Robin Weigert, Maggie Siff, Johnathan Tchaikovsky, Ben Shenkman, Julie Fain Lawrence, Janel Moloney, Emily Kinney, Laila Robins

    It all starts with a blow to the head. That is Abby’s (Robin Weigert) bloody wake-up call that there must be more to life than her sexless marriage to Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence). Desperate to find a [oh! you] pretty thing to get her off, Abby hires a female prostitute. But, Abby finds her first belle du jour to be a bit too…dirty…so she turns to her friendly neighborhood contractor-cum-pimp, Justin (Johnny Tchaikovsky), to recommend an upscale hooker who will leave Abby utterly orgasmic with joy. Realizing that this new sex habit might be a bit too expensive for her budget, Abby agrees to let Justin pimp her out.

    Sure, some of the situations in Stacie Passon’s Concussion may seem a bit ridiculous at times, but Robin Weigert is always convincing as Abby. Consistently intense with intent, Weigert’s Abby is a woman on a mission. Passon thankfully never sexualizes Abby, instead she develops Abby into a complex and thought-provoking character. Despite the tangled web of a secret life that Abby weaves, she remains empathetic. We feel for Abby, we want her to have a happy sex life; all the while, Abby wants to help make other women happy as well. This is precisely Passon’s true genius — her ability to portray prostitution as a social service. Abby is neither skanky nor sleazy, poor nor desperate; she is an intelligent, talented and successful woman who just so happens to rediscover her love of sex by way of prostitution. If she can teach other women how to have healthy and happy sex lives — and make some decent cash while doing so — why the heck not? I mean, what other choice does she have? Would it be better for her to never experience sexual pleasure with another woman?

    We have seen plenty of silver screen narratives over the decades in which a husband strays from a sexless heterosexual marriage to enjoy sex with prostitutes. When a man does that to a woman that is bad, right? Well, at least that is what the history of cinema has taught us. That is what I find most interesting about Concussion, because Abby seems to be in the right. But, why is Abby so different than her male predecessors of cinema? Is it because she is a woman? Is it because she is having sex with other women? Or, is it simply because Passon adequately justifies Abby’s actions?

    Concussion is bookended by two very inspired soundtrack choices, opening with a mood-defining montage to David Bowie’s “Oh! You Pretty Things” and closing with Brian Eno’s “Some of Them Are Old.” As I walked out of the theater, a line from Eno’s song became lodged in my brain: “Please be still and put your madness in a jar; but do beware, it will follow you, it will follow you.” What a brilliant use of Eno’s lyrics to foretell Abby’s future! So, not only does Passon earn some extra brownie points from me for using two of my favorite songs on the soundtrack, but the lyrics for both songs reverberate with meaning within the context of this film.

    Rating: 8/10

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    Topics: Film Reviews, News | 2 Comments »

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    • Fangirl

      I love CONCUSSION and hope for a sequel by Passon and Troche b/c I want to see what Abby does next!

      I too wondered how come I bought Abby as being “in the right”, didn’t see her as a cheater per se. For one, she was right after her first encounter to say that it would only hurt Kate if she told her about her unsatisfying experience. Then Justin talked about “unspoken agreements” and she talked with Kate about their friend’s divorce. Kate seemed totally accepting of extramarital affairs and said something like “grow up, it’s only sex. Go breathe”. And that’s what she does. Also: she does not take anything away from Kate. In the ending, Abby seems to be put off by Sam b/c her husband desires her, he’s passionate about her. If Abby’s wife would be like that, Abby would never sleep with anybody else.

      I think most people can relate to Abby and they can appreciate the dilemma she’s in (only re: the kids). I guess far fewer people can relate to Kate. I can’t relate to Kate at all.