A writer friend of mine told me once that you don’t have to like or relate to the main character of a story to enjoy it. She said there’s something about the character’s flaws that make them relatable.
I tried to keep this in mind as I watched the new lesbian drama Concussion. I certainly did not like or relate to either of the main characters in movie Concussion. I didn’t like work-out obsessed, gossipy, disinterested mom Abby. I didn’t like her stiff and passionless partner Kate. I didn’t like how they related to one another. I didn’t like how they related to their kids. And, I didn’t really like their kids either.
Abby (Robin Weigert) and Kate (Julie Lawrence) are suburban lesbian couple with two kids. Neither seems that interested in parenting or each other. Kate is a workaholic lawyer and Abby seems to spend her time in spinning class and renovating apartments that she flips. They’ve fallen into a routine that is lifeless and boring. The passion is gone from their relationship and Abby is sexually frustrated—as illustrated by a wonderful scene where the two women start to make love and Kate falls asleep halfway through.
The movie opens with Abby suffering a concussion after being hit in the head by one of the kid’s baseballs. Although a minor injury, it sparks Abby’s transformation from soccer mom to call girl.
Abby just bought a loft in New York and she’s busy renovating it with her hunky contractor Justin Johnathan Tchaikovsky who freely talks to Abby about his open relationship.
The hair on the back of my neck started to stand up and as the scene progressed, I thought this was going to be another The Kids Are All Right. I don’t think I’ll be giving too much away to say that, thankfully, Abby does not end up in bed with Justin—or any other male. But after an unsatisfying encounter with a prostitute, Abby starts turning tricks herself.
I’m feeling a bit jaded, but this is the second “lesbian” movie I’ve watched this month involving prostitution. (See: A Perfect Ending)
This is where I have to do some mental gymnastics to believe that a sexually frustrated lesbian wouldn’t just go out and have an affair with one of her fellow soccer moms. That’s she’d actually start bringing random strangers into her loft and screwing them while the drywall and tile are going up.
Despite the wonderful acting of Robin Weigert, who is excellent as Abby---she’s sexy and mysterious and shows the struggles of a woman with a secret to hide--I found a lot I didn’t love about Concussion. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t. I watched it alone at home, my first time streaming a movie from Wolfe Video. I wish I’d seen with a friend or two to get into a discussion of the probability and premise of the film.
Do lesbians really use prostitutes? I know women of all sexual orientations work as sex workers, but is there really a market for high-end call girls who cater to women clients, even in a city like New York? And even though I realize that Abby is getting much more out of the experience than just sex, do I believe that rich college girls really need to pay someone to have sex?
While it’s more likely that an unhappy suburban mom would start flirting with her spin instructor or one of her kid’s teachers, I guess that wouldn’t make much of a Hollywood drama.
The critics love this movie. It played at Sundance and is produced by early break-out lesbian producer Rose Troche.
My advice, see it for yourself and draw your own conclusion about Concussion.