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Nominated for 3 Academy Awards including Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) gives a "powerhouse performance" (New York Post) as a woman who passes as a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland. Some thirty years after donning men's clothing, she finds herself trapped in a prison of her own making. Also starring a prestigious international cast including Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Janet McTeer, Brendan Gleeson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, ALBERT NOBBS is a “terrific” (IndieWIRE) film adapted from the short story by Irish author George Moore.
Top customer reviews
Glenn Close does one of the most outstanding acting jobs in film history and compares to Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker for skill and excellence. Only Elizabeth Taylor's performance in Who's afraid of Virginia Wolfe can top Glenn Close's performance. It is restrained and perfectly executed. This was also my first introduction to the actress Janet McTeer, who plays the role of a poor widow who takes on her deceased husband's name, masculine role, and profession to survive in an economically depressed Dublin. Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson play essential roles in the film and do an excellent job.
The story is compelling on a personal level and on a social justice level. Albert Nobbs is the story of a young illegitimate child placed in an orphanage and then raped as an adolescent who becomes a male waiter to survive financially. Albert dreams of being a small tobacco shop owner one day. However, the interactions with Mr. Sands, played by Janet McTeer, open Albert up to the idea of having a life partner who will help him with his business. A series of events follows that are tragic and yet part of the human frailty we all encounter.
The film is also an interesting study in gender and sexuality and is one of the best examples of separating gender identity and sexual desire. In this case economic and social forces put Albert into the position of assuming a male gender identity most of his life and not much is ever revealed about his sexual desires, only his desire for a companion in life, something surely we all deserve. Such an excellent film deserves a wide viewership. It is an exceptional film.
Glen Close does a great job portraying Albert - a slight, diminutive man working as a waiter in a hotel. Some have criticized Close for not being masculine enough in the role, but I found her to possess a certain air of androgyny, both physically and in personality, that made the performance believable. After all, she wasn't playing a man, she was playing a woman living as a man.
Some either complain about or celebrate this as an LGBTQ movie, but I also disagree on that. While there are elements of homosexuality in the film, they are (in my opinion) subtle and by no means a main theme throughout. This is a film about loneliness, independence, and limitations with a bit of gender and socioeconomic commentary as well. It may require a dose of emotional maturity and empathy to truly enjoy.