In the 1800s in Ireland, it is often much easier for a man to find a job and make a good name for himself than it is for a woman. This sets the stage for the film Albert Nobbs, which follows the story of the main character, Albert Nobbs. Albert is a waiter working at a classy hotel. He always knows exactly what each customer desires, and his discretion is unparalleled. Thanks to his talents, Albert makes a good living but saves nearly every penny he makes. He hopes to one day buy his own shop and be his own boss.
However, what makes Albert truly interesting is that he is actually a woman in disguise. Albert, who is played by the famous actress Glenn Close, lives his entire life as a man and actually thinks of himself as a man. He works tirelessly to keep his secret safe, but, one day, during unforeseeable circumstances, Albert's secret is revealed to a painter who has come to work at the hotel.
Albert is terrified that the painter, Hubert, will reveal his secret, and he will lose both his job and his reputation. However, Hubert surprises Albert by revealing that he too is a woman in disguise. Hubert shocks Albert even further when he reveals that not only does he live as a man, but he is married to a woman.
Albert's world is turned upside down by this news. Suddenly he sees a future for himself that includes not only his own business, but also a wife. Albert begins spending time with Hubert and his wife, learning more about their unusual lifestyle and how they've managed to make it work. At the same time, Albert begins courting a young woman who works at his hotel. Although he believes he wants to marry her, Albert is not sure when the right time will be to tell her he is not actually a man.