• R, 1 hr. 33 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Stacie Passon
    In Theaters:
    Oct 4, 2013 Limited
    On DVD:
    Jan 28, 2014
  • Radius-TWC

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Concussion Reviews

Page 1 of 3
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

October 6, 2013
In the emergency room, Abby(Robin Weigert) less than calmly informs her spouse Kate(Julie Fain Lawrence), a lawyer, that she will be returning to work refurbishing apartments. Along the way, Abby also looks into her physical needs as well, hiring a prostitute(Sarah Dubrovsky) through an ad but finds it less than satisfactory. She has better luck with Gretchen(Kate Rogal) whose contact information she was given through her contractor, Justin(Jonathan Tchaikovsky). Abby enjoys herself so much so that she decides to go into business for herself.

While overall not bad, "Concussion" gets off to a promising start with a nice use of humor but once it gets to its central concept, it just settles down into a rut. While this might work for a marriage, it does not do quite so well for a movie. Thematically, despite what you might have heard, the movie has more in common with "American Beauty" than with "The Kids Are All Right," as "Concussion" also involves a character who is tired of suburban existence and wants to return to her sexier, more exciting youth, which Abby displays through her Blondie and CBGB t-shirts. While she seeks to stimulate herself, she is also looking for stimulating conversation. And being beaned in the head by your kid will do that to a person.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

March 1, 2014
Surprisingly poignant, executed well, and maturely conveyed, Concussion is a surprising film. The film follows the exploits of a married lesbian woman who gets in to prostitution, for complicated reasons. Such a plot line sounds like a good example for a simple exploit film or one-note gimmick, but in Concussion, it is taken to a serious conclusion.

The most surprising aspect of the film is, without question, the performance by Robin Weigert. She inhibits her character with a grounded presence. She's charming, honest, curious, and hopelessly restless. The film's success hinges entirely on this performance, and fortunately, it works. She brings a complexity to the role that underscores the journey of her character, and represents a character that we can't help but like. Her arc feels organic to the story, and is written well. We see the events as felt of Weigert's character, with the film refusing to give easy resolutions or obvious emotional beats.

The film's failures lie in the other characters of the film. Weigert's role aside, the other characters are not developed. We never truly understand their relationship with Robin, and the dynamics between them are never fully explored, and never seem to resonate on as deep of a level as one would like. Simply put, we lose emotional context for much of what happens, making the ending feel disjointed and oddly ineffective.

An overall solid film, especially for Weigert's performance, but with supporting cast flaws.

3.5/5 Stars
October 3, 2013
A decent movie about a woman who goes through life in a monotonous routine of her life w/her wife. She awakens after getting hit w/a Concussion. I'm still trying to understand the ending but it has a nice story.
November 20, 2013
Abby Ableman is a lesbian housewife and stay-at-home mom who suffers from a concussion after being hit in the forehead by a baseball and subsequently she experiences a mid-life crisis. As a result she begins to realize how much her day-to-day life bores her and thus enters into the world of top-dollar prostitution as a means of compensating for a (mostly) sexless marriage. This about sums up the premise of "Concussion", a semi-autobiographical film by writer/director, Stacie Passon.
One of the first things I think of when I see this movie is how much I love the independent film market and it's never-ending capability to allow filmmakers and screenwriters almost (if not totally) complete creative freedom -- a very important trait when dealing with LGBT* themes.
Another thing it reminds me of is the unabashed over-sexualization of lesbian characters and/or themes that occurs in a lot of modern popular media (even stories marketed specifically for the LGBT* demographic); don't get me wrong, there's nothing inherently regressive about (most) depictions of women having sexual encounters with other women, but there is a perplexingly high amount of lesbian films that feature at least one long sex scene and an astonishingly low amount of lesbian films that don't feature any sex scenes at all. Even many films that aren't strictly about lesbian themes will often have lesbian sex scenes in them ("Black Swan" anyone?). Again, I'm not pointing this out to say that these films shouldn't be allowed to show sex between women, quite the contrary -- they absolutely should, but the lack of gay/lesbian films (especially the latter) that focus on romance over sexual relationships is more than a little disheartening, and I know for a fact that I'm not the only one bothered by this.
So where does "Concussion" fit into this apparent trend? For a story that would seem to have "soft core porn" written all over it, this film is surprisingly subtle in it's approach to sex scenes: the scenes are always short unless the characters are speaking to each other; most of your attention is always on characters' faces; and the scenes usually cut in before and after and during, so to put emphasis on the emotional feeling of the scene rather than letting it grow to feel hallow. It is the absolute polar opposite, for instance, of the Palm D'Or-winning french film "Blue Is The Warmest Colour" (another lesbian romance film that was released in 2013), in which there are several sex scenes each lasting several minutes in length: the scenes are often graphic, messy, noisy, and thoroughly unromantic (not to mention paced very strangely). Though I compare "Concussion" to "Blue" not as an insult to the latter film (it's actually quite good, all in all), but rather as a kind of diagram to show just how sex-focused films in this "genre" (do we really like calling it that?) have become and how important it is for more films to show a less problematically cliched perspective. And yes, I do think "Concussion" tries it's best to subvert this as well as it can, but it's plot admittedly still make the exploitative qualities difficult to avoid.
If there is anything well written in this film, it's the characters and the dialogue. Passon's dialogue comes in the form of awkward banter, and sometimes the set-up for a ridiculously awkward one-liner is so hilariously bizarre and out-of-the-blue that the main character's only logical response is silence accompanied by a glare. The Characters themselves are smart, realistic, and funny (and at times even a little saddening); but the glory and treasure of the whole film is Robin Weigert's performance in the lead role and how well-written of a character she is in the first place.
"Concussion" is a uniquely edgy story about a woman who realizes she's still learning who she is, and then comes to realize that everyone she knows is still learning too. I look forward to seeing both Passon's and Weigert's future projects.
May 25, 2014
Looks like a fairly unique, indie drama, I'll definitely check it out.
May 17, 2014
Concussion feels like it should have been more compelling than it ultimately is. We never really get inside Abby's character in the way that a character film should. It is passable fare at best.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

March 1, 2014
Surprisingly poignant, executed well, and maturely conveyed, Concussion is a surprising film. The film follows the exploits of a married lesbian woman who gets in to prostitution, for complicated reasons. Such a plot line sounds like a good example for a simple exploit film or one-note gimmick, but in Concussion, it is taken to a serious conclusion.

The most surprising aspect of the film is, without question, the performance by Robin Weigert. She inhibits her character with a grounded presence. She's charming, honest, curious, and hopelessly restless. The film's success hinges entirely on this performance, and fortunately, it works. She brings a complexity to the role that underscores the journey of her character, and represents a character that we can't help but like. Her arc feels organic to the story, and is written well. We see the events as felt of Weigert's character, with the film refusing to give easy resolutions or obvious emotional beats.

The film's failures lie in the other characters of the film. Weigert's role aside, the other characters are not developed. We never truly understand their relationship with Robin, and the dynamics between them are never fully explored, and never seem to resonate on as deep of a level as one would like. Simply put, we lose emotional context for much of what happens, making the ending feel disjointed and oddly ineffective.

An overall solid film, especially for Weigert's performance, but with supporting cast flaws.

3.5/5 Stars
February 24, 2014
One line summary: Entitled lesbian tries prostitution to fix her emotional constipation.

----------------------

Abby gets a baseball to the head; hence the title. At age 42, this event, plus general mid-life crisis, seems like a reason to change up her life significantly.

She provisions a new apartment that she shares (non-overlapping time slots) with Justin. She finds that his girlfriend is paying for college by arranging prostitutes for lesbians. Abby tries a prostitute arranged through the girlfriend. The prostitute has good things to say about Abby; after several talks with Justin, he agrees to help get her clients.

Not unexpectedly, some of the client matchups work out well, others not. After a time, she cuts out Justin and works with his girlfriend directly. Clients come and go.

Since her relationship with Justin has deteriorated somewhat, she and Justin decide to sell it.

At the end of the day, does her choice of activities make anything better? Is anything cleared up? Is there any resolution that arises?

-------Scores-------

Cinematography: 10/10 Beautiful.

Sound: 9/10 No particular problems.

Acting: 5/10 There are lots of head shots of entitled people who are ever so satisfied with themselves. This endless, pointless, distracting stream of body English rather defeats attempts at acting in this muddy vanity film by a first-time auteur. The lead, Robin Weigert, was the worst.

Screenplay: 4/10 Oi, tiresome. Lots of kvetching, PC rants, and people who cannot connect with themselves. The kvetching and the rants come from the self-loathing. Does this emotional constipation ever get unblocked? No.
February 23, 2014
I thought it was pretty good! I was a bit confused as to the result at the end, though.
February 12, 2014
Ultimately too aimless to have any lasting effect
February 8, 2014
The wonderful thing about Concussion is that the sexual orientation of the characters is in no way part of the story - the main character is a mom, a housewife, and a prostitute, and being a 'lesbian' is never a big deal.
October 4, 2013
Between a 6/10 and 7/10, Weigert's performance resonates with authenticity, even if the plot mechanics become frustrating.
k.g. lee
January 25, 2014
A criminally ignored film that should've at least garnered many a best actress nod, for Robin Weigert, in more than a few of the award-fests!
January 13, 2014
A brilliant exploration of how we sometimes lose ourselves as we grow older and become more settled. Both realistic and fantastical, Abby's journey is one the audience can root for. The ending is both happy and hopeful.
December 28, 2013
the movie only using once the "Lesbie" word. but sure that`s the main idea of this movie. this movie didn`t want to offend somebody or the topic itself but invite us too feeling deeply for the main character. to feel, understand and appreciate the way she runs her life. but there is one flaw i think, the dilemma didn`t play long and deep itself. that`s why the climax doesn`t reach the best point i think. the aprroach style of ending similar with " This is England". very good , smooth and full of hope. Big kudos for Robin Weigert performances. "Spectacular movie" Roger Ebert.
Madmartigan
December 27, 2013
Meh. They could have done more with it. It starts to go indie, but lacks depth.
L B.
October 31, 2013
Excellent film!! Superb acting all the way around, great plot and great ending. Will buy it when it comes out on DVD.
October 25, 2013
It was a great premise and plot, but the potential got lost in all the gratuitous sex scenes. More story, less nakedness please. Also, it's not clear at all what role the concussion played in her mid-life crisis. She was completely asymptomatic after the incident. In a real concussion, she'd have symptoms right away and they would not resolve for a while if it was truly that serious.
October 3, 2013
A smart, nuanced, and well-acted portrayal of late-in-life sexual reawakening that eschews the typical "gay" plot points. In fact, it avoids all expected plot trajectories, making for an interesting experience.
October 18, 2013
Loved this movie. It is about so much more than what it's about on its surface, which is also interesting. And Robin Weigert is such a delight to watch, whatever she's doing.
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