A film about a lesbian who decides to become an escort and then sleep with a variety of woman may sound like a sleazy straight-man’s wet dream, but Stacie Passon’s Concussion is actually a far rarer beast – a movie that takes women and their sexuality seriously as its central subject.
Abby (Robin Wiegert) is a women living what ought to be the perfect modern gay life, with a wife, beautiful children, a home in the suburbs and plenty of friends. However like many others Abby’s found the reality of suburbia isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be, especially as the life has gone out of parts of her relationship.
She decides to try something new and hires a prostitute and is surprised afterwards to be told she probably has what it takes to have clients of her own. She decides to try out becoming a paid escort, eventually seeing a series of women. The clients range from a young student who says she’s doing a project, to a middle-aged lady whose relationship with Abby is initially quite fractious.
As mentioned, films that take women’s sexuality seriously are rare, and it’s even rarer to find one that doesn’t seem to almost subconsciously be saying that a woman can only be satisfied if she’s satisfied her man. Here there’s only one man, he’s not in the bed and is presented more as an irritant who becomes frustrated when he realises he’s not being given a say in Abby’s sexual expression.
When the movie sticks to Abby and her new clients, it’s extremely good, allowing the movie to look at range of different female experiences and the motivations women have. While there is sex, the film successfully makes this an expression of the women’s wants and needs rather than something that’s merely there to titillate. At times it’s almost like a series of interesting short films that finds its power through a barely hidden frustration that these things aren’t talked about more.
Where it’s less successful is with Abby’s life in the suburbs. The movie knows it’s on to something but there’s a sense that it isn’t sure what. The whole idea of Abby having been hit in the head suffering from a concussion doesn’t really go anywhere, and the movie can’t quite decide what it wants to say about the main couple’s relationship. This becomes particularly problematic as the movie head towards its conclusion, as it starts to seem to be partially in denial about the full ramifications of what Abby is doing.
There are constant hints at interesting ideas, especially when Abby bumps into a client outside her home and she’s forced to realise that her assumptions about what she’s doing and her clients might be wrong. However when Abby isn’t with one of her paying ladies, there’s a tendency towards disjointedness and meandering, where it’s slightly in search of its overall story.
Overall Verdict: As vignette looks at female sexuality and women trying to find themselves through new experiences, Concussion is great, but as an overall movie it has a few problems.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac