Lesbian drama explores edgy concept

by Jamie Ballard

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It would seem to be a law of the universe, whether you’re 14, 44 or 84, sometimes you feel trapped by the life you’ve created. We call it something else—teenage angst, anxiety or a midlife crisis—but the feeling is the same. It’s an emotion nearly everyone has felt at some point and it’s this emotion that drives the movie “Concussion.”

“Concussion” tells the story of Abby (Robin Weigert), a wife and mother who (after being hit in the head by her son’s baseball) decides that she simply can’t handle the monotony of her suburban life. She feels trapped by her wife, Kate Abelman (Julie Fain Lawrence), her kids and her job, and suddenly realizes something must change. Since a big issue in her marriage is the lack of sex, she first tries to revitalize herself by hiring a prostitute.

When that doesn’t feel quite right, Abby takes it a step further, and becomes an escort. She goes by the name of Eleanor, and with the help of her friend Justin (Johnathan Tchaikovsky) soon establishes a regular female clientele.

In one way, it’s easy to see “Concussion” as a familiar story of a midlife crisis. It tells the story of a marriage slowly losing passion, leading one partner to seek sexual thrills elsewhere. It’s a tale as old as time, but the film avoids playing into this archetype too heavily. The movie doesn’t glamorize infidelity, but it doesn’t demonize it either.

The portrayal of Abby’s foray into prostitution is fascinating. Her initial visit to the prostitute is awkward, even painful to watch. Her meetings with her first clients are similarly stiff and seem unnatural. But as the story plays out and Abby becomes more comfortable with her Eleanor persona, her interactions become more confident, and we can almost see Abby abandoning her past self altogether.

She hits a major snag in the operation when she goes to meet one of her clients, who turns out to be Sam (Maggie Siff), a fellow suburban PTA mother from Abby’s real life.

“Concussion” takes the perception of what we expect from a film that essentially centers on prostitution and turns it on its head. Abby isn’t having sex with these lonely, and often young, women for the money. She’s doing it for the illicit thrill it gives her, until it inevitably comes crashing down.

The most outstanding aspect of the movie is the acting. Weigert does an excellent job portraying Abby’s conflicting feelings of guilt, desperation, anxiety and excitement. Lawrence portrays the role of the tired and often passionless (but still loving) wife well, making the audience feel conflicted about the morality of what Abby is doing.

The one element that serves as an issue is the cinematography by David Kruta. Though generally not distracting, there are certain shots that linger on the mundane for too long. It feels like a key tenant of many indie flicks, but it doesn’t add anything significant.

Overall, “Concussion” is an interesting, high-quality drama. It’s and available to watch through iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and video on demand.

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