Feeling smothered by her suburban marriage, a woman begins spending her days in the big city as a high-priced call girl.
This is not exactly an original idea. The best and most famous example of the genre is Louis Bunuel’s 1967 “Belle de Jour” with Catherine Deneuve.
But in “Concussion” writer/director Stacie Passon pulls a major switcheroo — our leading lady is half of a lesbian marriage and her “johns” all are women.
We first meet Abby (Robin Weigert) in the aftermath of being bonked on the head by a baseball thrown by her son. She’s on the way to the E.R. for stitches and is less than sanguine about the whole thing, angrily condemning the kid as a “little shit.”
But the concussion she has suffered has done more than bloody her face and sour her mood. In its aftermath Abby realizes she’s no longer satisfied with her lot as the stay-at-home wife of successful divorce lawyer Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence). There must be more to life than shopping, chauffeuring kids, and hanging out after spin class with the other moms in suburban New Jersey.
“Concussion” makes no big deal of the fact that Abby and Kate are gay. It’s a non-issue. The other (straight) couples they hang out with are totally accepting. Their children — a boy and a girl — seem to be well adjusted.
But that fastball to the noggin has jump started Abby’s libido. She nervously sets up visits with a couple of lesbian prostitutes, taking stock of her own sexual needs and skills. Something clicks deep inside, and Abby decides she’d like to try her hand at the skin game.
As coincidence would have it (and, yes, this movie relies a bit overmuch on coincidence), the young man (Johnathan Tchaikovsky) with whom she is fixing up a condo in Manhattan has just begun dating a law student who runs an all-woman escort business. Instead of flipping the condo, Abby uses it as her love nest for a series of encounters with clients.
Taking the name Eleanor, Abby is at first comically cautious. She announces that she must screen potential bedmates at a neutral location. Her handyman/procurer rolls his eyes: “Where would you like to meet them first? Nordstrom’s?”
But as she gets into her new gig, Abby/Eleanor finds that every new client — from an overweight college-age virgin to a moneyed corporate wife in late middle age — requires her to play a new role. She learns to be in control, to guide each encounter, to be what the client requires. She’s not only enjoying herself and making money, she’s learning about just who she is — or could be.
(By the way, “Concussion” is sexy but remarkably modest. There’s not much in the way of nudity and director Passon cuts away from the sexual situations before things get too hot and heavy.)
Of course there are complications. Kate gets suspicious about why Abby is sabotaging the sale of the condo. And then there’s the surprise of discovering that one of her anonymous clients (Maggie Siff) is actually a fellow mom she knows from school.
Weigert — who played the androgynous Calamity Jane in HBO’s “Deadwood” and now has a recurring role as a criminal lawyer on “Sons of Anarchy” — gives a subtle performance that allows her to play many roles all at once.
But “Concussion” left me feeling oddly disconnected. Perhaps it’s because we are never sure just who the “real” Abby is.