Albert Nobbs

8 Jun

Synopsis: Albert Nobbs struggles to survive in late 19th century Ireland, where women aren’t encouraged to be independent. Posing as a man, so she can work as a butler in Dublin’s most posh hotel, Albert meets a handsome painter also a woman disguised as a man, and looks to escape the lie she has been living.

Cast:

Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs

Mia Wasikowska as Helen Dawes

Aaron Johnson as Joe

Janet Mcteer as Hubert Page

Pauline Collins as Mrs. Baker

Brenda Fricker as Polly

Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Viscount Yarrell

Brendon Gleeson as Dr. Holloran

Maria Doyle Kennedy as  Mary

Mark Williams as Sean

Serena Brabazon as Mrs. Moore

Michael McElhatton as Mr. Moore

Kenneth Collard as M. Pigot

Bronagh Galligher as Cathleen

Review:

Glenn Close stars as Albert Nobbs, her startling, Oscar nominated portrayal as a woman posing as a man in 19th Century Ireland is remarkable in its underlying sadness and asexuality. Based on the novella by Irish novelist George Moore, the themes of the story parallel the conundrum of 19th century battered and oppressed women with the struggles of lesbian woman in today’s society.

We learn that Albert as a 14 year old girl was abandoned by her mother and gang raped and beaten by a group of men. For reasons of economic security she poses as a man to find work as a waiter a job only given to men . For many years Albert works in a fine hotel as a waiter/butler and lives in fear of being found-out. She squirrels away all her money in a hole in the floor of her room hoping one day to find a way out and a better life.

In a profound moment a painter named Hubert Page, played by Janet Mcteer arrives at the hotel to paint the interior. Albert is forced to share her room with Page and is terrified by the prospect of sharing her bed with a man. Page a gangly, streetwise, cigarette smoking character sees through Albert’s disguise,   To stop Albert from cowering in fear, Page opens his shirt and exposes his breasts and to Albert’s astonishment finds out Page is also a woman posing as a man. They become kindred spirits for the rest of the film. Albert is also astonished to find out Page is married to another woman, Cathleen, and leads a relatively normal existence. Albert from this moment on wants the same and starts looking to purchase a tobacco business of her own and marry a woman she has fallen in love with.

There are a few twists and turns that lead this tragic story, Close’s performance is the glue that binds this all together. This is a fine film and Close makes Nobbs so real you can’t help but feel the emotion behind this character’s sadness and unlikeable nature. It is a brave and heartfelt performance worthy of the Oscar nomination.

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