Robin Weigert on leaving TV (and her inhibitions) behind in ‘Concussion’

HitFix

The Emmy-nominated actress is a revelation in the sexually charged indie ‘Concussion.’

BY GUY LODGE

“Brave” is a word sorely overused by critics when describing any actor taking on a somewhat sexualized character – especially when they take off their clothing in the process. If the sexuality in question is LGBT, so much the “braver,” apparently. It’s a word, then, that you may have read applied a few times to Robin Weigert’s terrific performance as a dissatisfied lesbian wife and mother in Stacie Passon’s sharp, sensual debut feature “Concussion” – released last Friday on the Weinsteins’ TWC-Radius label.

HitFixAmong its many individual merits as a witty, pointed study of normalized alternative families and the long-haul challenges of homosexual domestic bliss, “Concussion” also delights as an overdue leading-lady showcase for Weigert – the warm but tough-as-nails character actress whose strongest career opportunities to date have been on the small screen. She received in Emmy nomination in 2004 for her vitally vulgar Calamity Jane in cult Western series “Deadwood,” and is regularly featured in the hit biker drama “Sons of Anarchy.”

Until now, Weigert’s most generous film opportunity came in Steven Soderbergh’s odd stylistic experiment “The Good German.” That has now been handily bettered by complex, prickly role in “Concussion” as Abby, a woman who handles the combination of familiar suburban ennui and spousal indifference in a rather unexpected fashion: she takes up a secret occupation as a high-end call girl in New York City, serving other women with unfulfilled sexual needs.

Until now, Weigert’s most generous film opportunity came in Steven Soderbergh’s odd stylistic experiment “The Good German.” That has now been handily bettered by complex, prickly role in “Concussion” as Abby, a woman who handles the combination of familiar suburban ennui and spousal indifference in a rather unexpected fashion: she takes up a secret occupation as a high-end call girl in New York City, serving other women with unfulfilled sexual needs.

The character has stoked controversy since the film’s divisive Sundance debut, but Weigert plays her with weary good humor, casually blossoming as Abby grows more comfortable in her imperfect skin. If it is indeed a brave performance, it’s not self-consciously so.

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