Fifty Shades of “Concussion”

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By DeAnna Janes


Concussion is more than a film — it’s a journey.

One marked by pit stops of self-discovery. Strangely enough, the same can be said about our chat with the film’s star, Robin Weigert. She doesn’t dish out sound bites or give one-word answers, she delves into each question, revealing her passion for playing the film’s main character, Abby. Our conversation, in a word, was glorious.

Abby is a 42-year-old woman married to another woman; they have two kids and a ho-hum sex life. Until, that is, Abby gets hit in the head and her sex drive steers her into prostitution. Sounds simple enough, but Concussion’s plot is continually misunderstood. Abby’s head trauma doesn’t cause her sexual awakening; it spawns it. “It’s just a concussion; it’s something that jars, startles, changes her perspective. It’s not necessarily a physiological reaction that she then discovers that she has a libido,” Weigert says.

We saw the film for the first time at Sundance, in a humongous theater with hundreds of people, quite possibly with Weigert herself. We couldn’t help but think, What is it like to watch yourself naked, seductive, and vulnerable? We got our answer. “I don’t think it landed on me until just that moment — quite how full of a responsibility I had for what was on screen. It was daunting. But there was this rush of relief the day afterward, when it felt like a lot of people who were talking about the film in print seemed to really get it.”

Weigert, who might be best known for her role as Ally Lowen on Sons of Anarchy, is a veteran of the small screen (Chicago FireGrey’s Anatomy, and American Horror Story), and she’s had her share of bit parts in films like The Sessions and Synecdoche, New York. But as we scroll through her lengthy IMDb resume, there are no characters quite like Abby, a woman whose adolescence sneaks up on her in her 40s. “It’s that moment that a lot of people experience in their teenage years, when your body sort of lays claim to you. And you’ve been living peacefully in one mode of existence, as a child of your parents, and then, suddenly, this thing takes your body over, and you’re impelled to take a journey.”

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