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Albert Nobbs

A 2011 film directed by Rodrigo Garcia

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A Man's World?

  • Dec 30, 2011


Written by Glenn Close and John Banville

Directed by Rodrigo Garcia

Starring Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska, Janet McTeer and Aaron Johnson


Dr. Hollaran: We are both disguised as ourselves.


Glenn Close first played the titular role of ALBERT NOBBS on stage nearly thirty years ago. She defined the role for the stage and has been trying to get the play, based on a short story, made into a film ever since. Her aspirations have finally been realized, resulting in what may be one of the finest turns this 5-time Oscar nominated actress has ever given. As Nobbs, she shines so brightly on screen by blending so perfectly into the background and going with as little notice as possible. And though her character is inherently humble, she is simply unforgettable.


At the turn of the 19th century, Albert Nobbs is going on thirty years or so as a servant in a popular British hotel. That’s three decades of knowing which guest prefers which flowers, when each guest takes their tea and keeping a rather significant secret. Albert is not the man he portends to be; Albert is actually a woman. Every day, she puts on her armour, including some rather constrictive binding to hide her chest, and faces the world in character. She fools everyone around her and has been doing such a good job at it for such a long time that she has very little idea of who the woman she used to be still is. Her finely woven web begins to unravel though when she meets another lady disguised as a man to get work (Janet McTeer, in an incredibly ballsy performance). Seeing her lead both a public and private life as a man shows her how her life of servitude has forced her to miss out on some of the finer things she never dreamed she could have.


ALBERT NOBBS deals with issues of identity and class with delicate care and all their due and it does so with a lighter than expected tone. The film, under the direction of Rodrigo Garcia (MOTHER AND CHILD), is unexpectedly amusing, deeply touching and an incredibly revealing character study. And despite the impressive efforts from the entire ensemble, including the young and talented Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson, this is Close’s picture. It may have taken ALBERT NOBBS thirty years to reach the screen but that just may have been the time it needed to become this good.

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A Man's World? A Man's World? A Man's World?

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December 30, 2011
I haven't even heard of this, great review.
More Albert Nobbs reviews
review by . July 14, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****    His name is Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close). He is a waiter at a fancy hotel in Ireland. He is polite, doesn't talk much or at all other than when he is properly addressed - and other times finds company in himself when alone, and is genuinely well-liked for both these reasons and more. But the truth is that he is not a "he" at all. Albert is a woman dressed as a man in order to achieve the sort of employment that she has upheld for all these years. In 19th Century …
review by . August 18, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Outstanding film
The story opens in 19th century Ireland, where Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) is a hotel butler/waiter. He's also a woman, forced to hide his identity because a woman alone often ended up in the workhouse or worse. Albert has big plans, however, and dreams of the day when he can own his own little shop.      I was expecting this movie to be a cloying male-impersonator story like "Yentl," but it was so much more than that; it's a scathing and heartbreaking look at …
review by . December 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Albert Nobbs, adapted from George Moore’s short story “The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs,” was clearly intended to explore themes of identity – or, more precisely, how identity is starkly divided between who we are within and what we show to the world. It’s a compelling idea, and yet this movie is missing something. It never quite comes together. It introduces us to a number of interesting characters who are either …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #8
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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