We all know the story of the devoted housewife whose middle-class suburban lifestyle becomes just too unsatisfying, driving her to find herself in a new lover or hobby or destructive behavior. The familiar story is not unlike the one portrayed in the new film Concussion which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past January, but with a new element we haven’t seen so much before: both the occasionally working housewife and her working spouse are women.
While in the past, audiences may have viewed a lesbian love affair as the kind of taboo adventure that the lustful soccer mom would have in her desperation to run from her conventional lifestyle, here the lesbian relationship is portrayed as so conventional that it has the potential for boringness. The film’s main character Abby finds her cookie-cutter lifestyle complete with devoted life and two involved children to be losing its excitement and ends up honing a secret life as a sex worker. While perhaps the portrayal of lesbian marriage is less than flattering, it is also perhaps painfully honest. As we know from the similar stories we are already familiar with, marriage is not always exciting. What the film seems to really be saying, is that gay marriage is not that different.
The film’s first-time director Stacie Passon draws attention to this, stating that for a long time while gay couples were viewed as naturally more fetishized and they had to focus on simply gaining equality, straight couples have been living as openly married for a long time, giving them the experience to perfect the art and learn to keep it exciting. Gay couples though, may not have had time to adjust to the humdrum of conventional domesticity, and that’s what Passon is exploring. “We’ve put ourselves in this suburban existence we’ve tried to change from within and, in the process, we’ve sort of lost what made us gay to begin with,” she says, “We look around and we see straight couples having more fun than we are, essentially because they realized that this is a dead-end life if you don’t spice it up.”
Passon relates to her character in that, though she loves her wife and children very much, something about the lifestyle devoted to cultivating a family was sometimes just a little unfulfilling- a feeling which she satisfied, not by becoming a sex worker, but by directing a movie about one.
Concussion Movie Trailer