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Review: Albert Nobbs

Albert Nobbs
02.15.2012by:
7 10

PLOT: Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) has a secret. For years, Nobbs has been working at a hotel in Dublin, as the resident butler. Unbeknownst to the staff, Nobbs- a confirmed bachelor is not in fact the comely, middle-aged man they think he is. Rather, Nobbs is a woman in disguise- trying to build a small nest-egg that will support her in twilight years.

REVIEW: ALBERT NOBBS is really one of those movies where, as a whole, is probably nothing special, but features a performance (or in this case two) thatís so dynamic that it immediately pushes the film up a couple of notches- making it a must see for the acting alone. Long a passion project of Closeís, she tackles a very difficult role, allowing her to pass as a middle-aged Irishman in early twentieth century Dublin.

Of course, this was a tough time for anyone to find a job, much less a middle-aged woman, so Nobbsí reasons for posing as a man are perfectly understandable. In an effort to pass as the male Albert, Close is tightly corseted, with no makeup, and closely cropped hair. In the role, not only does Close have to lower her voice a few octaves to make for a believable man, but the very American Close also has to attempt an Irish accent- which is pitch-perfect to my ears.

All in all, ALBERT NOBBS is a triumph for Close, making her nomination as Best Actress well-deserved. But wouldnít you know it- Close all but gets the film stolen right out from under her by Janet McTeer, as another woman posing as a man, who eventually learns Albertís secret. Unlike Albert, sheís been living as a man for so long, that almost any vestige of her femininity is gone- to the extent that sheís even taken a wife, just to make the deception even more believable, which inspires Albert to attempt the same thing with the hotelís fragile maid, Helen (Mia Wasikowska) - whoís in an abusive relationship with the boiler-keeper (KICK-ASSí Aaron Johnson). McTeer is really incredible as the resourceful Hubert Page, and itís the kind of performance that will inevitably leave audiences wanting more. Every time sheís off-screen, youíll be waiting for her to show up again. If McTeer doesnít take home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, thereís something seriously wrong with the Academy.

As for the rest of the film, itís solid- although probably not up to the standards of something similar like DOWNTON ABBEY. Itís somewhat predictable, although despite the subject matter, filmed in a way that keeps it from being as downbeat as it could have been. Director Rodrigo Garcia, who directed Close in NINE LIVES, and last directed the excellent MOTHER & CHILD, has a good handle on the material and does a commendable job with it. In addition to Close and McTeer, the rest of the cast is excellent, including Wasikowska (Iím getting used to seeing her in period films), Johnson, the always reliable Brendan Gleeson (as the hotelís alcoholic doctor), and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as a dissolute, drunken wastrel- whoís taken up in the hotel with his hell-raising companion.

Overall, ALBERT NOBBS isnít an excellent film, but itís a good one- and does contain two incredible Awards-level performances. McTeer really needs to get the nod from the Academy for this one, as sheís head and shoulders above everyone else nominated in that category (except maybe Octavia Spenser). All in all, a film well-worth seeing.

Source: JoBlo.com

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12:55PM on 02/15/2012

A truly AWFUL movie.

Some MINOR spoilers follow: I could not disagree with you more. This movie was the WORST thing I saw all year (granted I avoided several flicks that were probably worse than this). The characters had no purpose. Close and McTeer were completely unconvincing as men. The script is completely full of holes - not the least of which being the complete implausible idea that in 19th century Dublin, not one, but TWO cross-dressing ladies just happen to get roomed together at this hotel. The films focus
Some MINOR spoilers follow: I could not disagree with you more. This movie was the WORST thing I saw all year (granted I avoided several flicks that were probably worse than this). The characters had no purpose. Close and McTeer were completely unconvincing as men. The script is completely full of holes - not the least of which being the complete implausible idea that in 19th century Dublin, not one, but TWO cross-dressing ladies just happen to get roomed together at this hotel. The films focus is on the weak Aaron Johnson storyline and leaves Nobbs to the scraps. Also, Nobbs provide ZERO reason for her cross-dressing. She tells a story about a rape when she was young and then in the next moment, she just says, 'but that had nothing to do with anything, I just needed a job, so I dressed as a man'. The story was boring to top it off (and I happen to like period dramas). It was a despicable story, told poorly and acted adequately for the very weak direction and script. SUCH a great IDEA for this film and it lays limp on the screen. Thumbs waaaaay down. 4 of 10 on its best day.
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