A concussion is a brain injury that causes trauma, confusion, loss of concentration, and impairment of judgment balance and coordination. The new film Concussion starts with a woman getting hit in the head with baseball thrown by her stepson. Abby (Robin Weigert) is married to divorce lawyer Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence). They seem happy but bored in their relationship. Kate obviously probably was in a relationship with a man before but gave up on it. The two kids seem distant and grouchy toward Abby. Both seem to be well off and have their own money. Abby has been taking a break from renovating apartments, but she decides to go back to it. She spends lots of time with other women over 40. They all seem vaguely dissatisfied, but Abby seems even more edgy than that. Her partner, Justin (Jonathan Tchaikovsky), is used to her bossiness and she decides to confide in him. Abby is bridling at how boring her relationship has become. She decides to go to a hooker. She does it again. Each encounter is different with varying degrees of unsatisfying and satisfying. The implication is that the concussion has shaken her brain up and changed the way she thinks. She learns that Justin is dating “the girl” who sets things up. Justin lets her know that she might be able to play the other side of the fence. Get $800 instead of paying $800. There are young women with lots of daddy’s cash who are looking for someone more mature. Justin says, “What’s the difference?” So Abby starts seeing young women, under very controlling and particular situations. She gets to meet “the girl”, who is a rather neurotic and pretty college law student. Abby asks to see all kinds of women, not just young ones. “The girl” thinks that is fine, and it would be nice if she would work more than one day a week.
The clients are all different. At one point Justin says number five wants to see her again. Abby says no. Then we see why. Number five likes to choke her and hurt her. One of the clients who turns up happens to be an acquaintance of hers who is married to a Goldman Sachs stockbroker. It was assumed she was happily married, and she is, but she’s excited by a lesbian fling. Sam (Maggie Siff) becomes a regular client. Abby enjoys feeling desirable. Most 42-year-old women would probably like the idea of lots of sex with different people, but clearly Abby’s life has been thrown out of its safe trajectory. It is obvious that something has to give. It is not likely she can remain a housewife and a hooker forever.
Robin Weigert is an accomplished actress with a solid resume, but this is her first starring role in a film.
Weigert is best known for television and supporting roles in films. Calamity Jane in the HBO series Deadwood was an attention-getting role. She also has been seen regularly on Sons of Anarchy and Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, Life, Cold Case and has had roles on dozens of television shows. She has been in many high profile films like Things We Lost in the Fire, Synecdoche New York, and The Good German, but in Concussion she is central. It is her movie, and she brings intelligence and complexity to the role. It was director Stacey Passion’s first film, and it was nominated for best first feature at the Independent Spirit Awards, which are broadcast the night before the Oscars. It should be noted that Weigert was approached out of the blue by Passion to be the star. Once Weigert committed, she brought many of her actor friends into the project, which explains the high quality of the acting throughout and the abundance of familiar faces. But this is Weigert’s show, without the slightest doubt. I’m not entirely sure, but she’s probably on screen at least 95% of the time. She can be very proud of it. It is a film that deals with sex quite a lot, but it is always intelligent, provocative, mature and somewhat profound. If anything it is a little slow and studied, but it is riveting. If you want to see this expecting to see a lot of hot sex, I’m afraid you’re going to get something more.