Release Date: Jan. 27, 2012
Running Time: 114 minutes
In Albert Nobbs, the Oscar-nominated Glenn Close stars as a woman who has spent 30 years posing as a man in order to hold down a good job in an early 20th-century Irish hotel. From her flattened hair to her distinguished nose to her widened facial features, Close’s transformation into the elderly waiter is remarkable. It further puts to the shame Leonardo DiCaprio’s lousy J. Edgar makeup job. The only person to recognize Nobbs for who she is is the Oscar-nominated Janet McTeer’s painter, who also lives a life as a man but is married to a woman. Their encounter inspires the tired and forlorn Nobbs to romantically pursue Mia Wasikowska’s hotel maid. The maid’s scheming boyfriend (Kick-Ass’ Aaron Johnson) encourages the relationship so he can pilfer Nobbs’ savings. At no point does Albert Nobb attempt to dissect the 19th- and early 20th-century workplace sexual discrimination that would drive a woman to pretend to be a man for most of her adult life. Instead, it concerns itself with the gender confusion that afflicts Nobbs and now threatens to cloud her judgment. Close, her co-writer John Banville and her director Rodrigo Garcia leave it to the viewer to determine Nobbs’ sexual orientation and whether she’s more attracted to the maid or the notion of finally leading a “normal” lifestyle. Accordingly, Albert Nobbs unfolds as a compassionate character study of a woman who enjoys the benefits of being a man at the cost of her identity, femininity and self-worth. Bearing this in mind, there’s a sense of danger to be found in Albert Nobbs as the waiter’s obsession with what the future holds greatly increases her risk of exposure. Close, who first played Nobbs on Broadway in the 1980s, delivers a quiet and controlled performance that slowly allows us to comprehend and appreciate the loneliness and uncertainty that haunts Nobbs. Albert Nobbs regrettably never puts itself in the position to champion LGBT rights, but it does offer a haunting portrait of a woman struggling to free break of the prison of her own making.
Aired: Jan. 26, 2012
Web site: http://albertnobbs-themovie.com/