July 29, 2014 | Rome, Italy | Partly Cloudy 25°C
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Drama

Kill Your Darlings

John Krokidas provides an intriguing portrayal of the youthful "Beat" writers.

The Company You Keep

Robert Redford's "homage" to 1960s radical protestors is very much in character.

Maps to the Stars

A Cronenberg Hollywood black farce is considerably more than it seems.

It Felt Like Love

Director Eliza Hittman has too much and too little going on in this sexual initiation story.

Horror

13 Sins

Remaking a Thai horror classic proves good fun for German director Daniel Stamm.

Thrillers

The Call

In "The Call," Brad Anderson creates superior suspense until he fritters it away.

Science Fiction

Star Trek Into Darkness

J.J. Abrams dives back into Trekkie-land and again provides his matinee worth.

The Machine

An eerie sci-fi tale goes off the rails when it veers into Resident Evil territory.

Her

Spike Jonze takes 21st-century realities and pushes them forward into hallowed ground.

Frequencies

Darren Paul Fisher throws stitches together an engaging sci-fi love story around free will.




Date: 2013
Directed by: Stacie Passion
Starring: Robin Weigert, Julie Fain Lawrence, Maggie Siff, Johnathan Tchaikovsky, Janel Moloney, Emily Kinney, Kate Rogal

Concussion

It takes a wise artist to inject new life into shopworn scenarios. Here, writer-director Stacie Passion takes a hackneyed conceit the midlife crisis and seamlessly reconfigures it to fit an alternative framework. Interior decorator Abby (Robin Weigert) and divorce lawyer Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence) are a married lesbian duo Mrs. and Mrs. Ableman rearing two children in the vacuous and gossipy upscale New York City suburbs where working out, gossip, yoga and child schooling is the conversational norm. Bored Abby, the housewife of the duo, is compulsive, inexperienced and little klutzy. An apparently minor head trauma causes her libido to jump, and with it a desire to take risks. This in turn leads to a head-turning encounter with hooker facilitated by male friend Joel (Johnathan Tchaikovsky) and her own decision to walk that path. Suddenly, she's "a hot dyke housewife" who sees clients in her work-in-progress city loft, catering mostly to those as inexperienced as she.

The bored housewives conceit is hardly new, nor is the erotic twist, but it almost invariably takes the form of heterosexual nymphomania in which female behavior is tailored to male fantasies. This is something else entirely. Reading glasses perched on her nose, Abby uses her intimate new vocation and the sex is beautifully handled to feel her way forward and try to revive her wilted union with workaholic Kate. She wants what she's never had: a sense of self ("I'm 42: something has to be me by now.") She also wants to believe in a world that extends beyond the gloss (and myriad hypocrisies) of affluence. But the suburbs are pitiless toward gay and straight alike. Men are passive. Relationships fray. Petty and serious secrets abound. People lie.

Passion relays all of this in an uncommonly poignant way, giving TV veteran Weigert a chance to outline her character, which she does with a deeply admirable mix of intensity, adult wit, and occasionally sad bafflement.

Reviewed by: Marcia Yarrow
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