Concussion (R)

Drama 93 October 4, 2013
By Melissa Anderson
"After 40, you have to choose between your ass or your face," one offscreen spin-class participant remarks to her fellow affluent fitness enthusiasts within the first minute of writer-director Stacie Passon's poorly conceived Concussion. The remark is a paraphrase of a quote attributed to Catherine Deneuve. One of the French icon's most enduring characters, Séverine, the bored bourgeois housewife who takes on the 2-to-5 shift at a Paris bordello in Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour, would seem to be a partial inspiration for Concussion's Abby (Robin Weigert), a stay-at-home mom chafing against domestic drudgery. But like its opening adage, so much in Passon's debut feature, as in other inferior descendants of Buñuel's great film, has been repeated over the decades to the point of banality: sexless marriage, midlife regrets, and deadening suburbs. That Abby is wedded to a woman, divorce lawyer Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence), may make her a new kind of protagonist in an old scenario, though her lesbianism does little to vivify these hoary setups. After a head injury, Abby declares she's "going back to work," which entails buying and renovating a walk-up loft in Manhattan—a 30-minute drive and a lifetime away from her Garden State social set—with the help of twentyish contractor Justin (Johnathan Tchaikovsky). He will soon be assisting Abby in another enterprise: finding clients for her $800-per-session sapphic sex work. Abby's bold business plan, launched after she's had two experiences as a john, is a reaction to the frost and frustrations she encounters in her own marital bed. But vagueness-- of Kate, of her partnership with Abby—burdens Concussion, rendering most of it dully schematic, and in place of precision, Passon gives us visual clichés. (
Stacie Passon Robin Weigert, Maggie Siff, Johnathan Tchaikovsky, Emily Kinney, Laila Robins, Ben Shenkman, Janel Moloney, Julie Fain Lawrence, Daniel London Stacie Passon Rose Troche Radius-TWC

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