A lesbian, middle-class, midlife crisis may not sound like much fun as a film, but this intelligent, thoughtful and above all impeccably acted movie is much more than the sum of its parts.
Abby (a brilliant performance from Robin Weigert) has given up her career as a high flying interior designer to play mommy to her two children with wife Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence). Feisty, sporty and extremely fit Abby seems happy with her life until she’s hit in the head by her son’s football and her ensuing mild concussion makes her start to question her seemingly perfect, wealthy lifestyle of dinner parties and spin classes in between doing the laundry.
To keep her brain occupied she buys and begins to do up a small flat, but it is keeping her body busy that is the main problem because rich lawyer Kate is working so hard she’s too tired for sex (to the extent of falling asleep on the job) and gorgeous Abby’s pent-up sexual frustration is about to explode all over the place.
If this were a normal middle-class midlife crisis scenario Abby would take a lover, but here director/writer Stacie Passon subverts things by introducing Abby to the world of high-end lesbian prostitution. At first, Abby is the ‘John’ but on the advice of her business partner (who just happens to be in the know) she swaps roles and becomes a call girl herself. As with everything in her life, Abby throws herself headlong into this new, exciting and sexually satisfying role, but trying to keep her alter ego a secret from Kate and her friends proves increasingly difficult.
There are many things about Concussion that make it a classy affair: it’s smart without being smug; it treats all its players with compassion; and above all it has some really funny scenes in it (the headmistress of Abby’s kids’ school laying down the law on which sweets can appear in their trick or treat goody bags so no religious groups can take offence). It is also beautifully framed so what is, to all intents and purposes, a small indie film actually looks like it has had plenty of money spent on it.
First-timer Stacie Passon should now go on to make movies with much bigger budgets while the truly awesome Robin Weigert (best known for TV shows such as Deadwood) deserves to get lots of meaty movie roles. Fingers crossed.