‘Concussion,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


Some actors attract you because of their openness: What you see is what you get, in all its honesty and candor.

But other actors pull you in with their mystery: They present a face that seems to offer any number of interpretations. You don’t quite know what they’re thinking in any situation – and when you find out, invariably you’re surprised.

I’ve been fascinated with Robin Weigert since the first time I remember seeing her, as the hard-drinking, foul-mouthed Calamity Jane in David Milch’s too-short HBO series, “Deadwood.” Since then, she’s popped up from time to time in films and on TV shows (most recently in a recurring role as a lawyer on “Sons of Anarchy”).

But she’s never had a movie role like the one she plays in Stacie Passon’s “Concussion.” I saw this film at Sundance, then again at Karlovy-vary, to see if it cast the same spell on me the second time. It did.

Weigert plays Abby, half of a lesbian couple living in tony Montclair, N.J. She’s first seen after a mishap while out with her kids; an errant baseball has clocked her in the head and they’re all on their way to the emergency room for stitches. While she’s waiting to be seen, something else hits her: She’s tired of being the stay-at-home mom, the one who spends her days shopping, cooking, going to spin class.

She wants to go back to work which, in her case, means buying and rehabbing a loft space in Manhattan. She’s got a handyman to do the actual work, a guy named Justin (Johnathan Tchaikovsky) – and he turns out to be another kind of resource as well.

Specifically, having grown frustrated with the lack of libido demonstrated by her wife, Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence), Abby uses Justin to engage a call girl who takes women as clients. Which triggers a series of thoughts: a) Abby needs more sex in her life and b) there must be other women out there who have the same problem.

Justin, as it turns out, is friends with the woman – actually known as The Girl (Emily Kinney) – who connected Abby with the prostitute. The Girl is willing to let Abby try her hand at being the custom, instead of the customer – and Abby discovers that she has a knack for it.

This review continues on my website.

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