Watch Albert Nobbs
Set in late 19th-century Dublin, "Albert Nobbs" tells the story of a woman who has spent the better part of her life posing as a man in order to secure stable employment. Glenn Close stars as the eponymous character, a reserved and painfully shy individual who works as a butler at a posh hotel, where she is highly valued for her discretion and efficiency.
The opening scenes of the film deliver an immediate sense of isolation and loneliness that pervades throughout the story. Albert's cramped quarters reflect a frugal way of living, but also suggest an emotional emptiness that is echoed in her own personality. She seems almost invisible, always carefully minding her own business and keenly aware of how others might perceive her. As viewers, we are privy to the complex inner life of a person who is unable to fully reveal their true self to the world.
One day, Albert meets a young woman named Hubert Page (Mia Wasikowska), who works as a maid at the hotel. Hubert is a breath of fresh air for Albert, a friendly and outgoing character who sees beneath Albert's facade and takes her under her wing. The two women forge a tentative friendship that is tested when Hubert's own romantic entanglements are revealed.
The film explores themes of gender identity and class struggle, as well as interpersonal relationships and the human need for connection. It deftly manages to convey the sense of societal norms and expectations that were present in that era, without being overly didactic or heavy-handed. Instead, the film relies on the subtleties of the performances from its stellar cast, including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, as well as the stunning period design and haunting soundtrack, to convey deeper emotions and motivations.
Throughout the film, viewers are left to wonder about Albert's past and what led her to take on this masculine persona. She is troubled by a desire for a life outside of work, but lacks the social skills or the confidence to make that happen. In one poignant scene, Albert confesses to Hubert that she has been saving for years to open a small tobacco shop, but feels as though it will never actually come to fruition. It's a moment that underscores the difficulties faced by women like Albert, who are forced to live a double life just to survive.
The arrival of a new hotel guest, Mr. Page, who is played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, sets off a chain of events that brings Albert's world crashing down. As Albert becomes increasingly conflicted and heartsick, she is forced to confront the truth about herself and make some hard choices about her future. The film builds to a powerful conclusion that is both heart-wrenching and cathartic, leaving viewers with a lingering question of what might have been.
In summary, "Albert Nobbs" is a beautifully crafted film that tackles weighty themes with subtlety and nuance. Glenn Close gives a masterful performance that conveys the quiet desperation of a woman who has spent her life posing as someone else, while Mia Wasikowska brings a touch of brightness and optimism to the story. The film is a poignant reminder of the struggles faced by women in the past and the present, and is a must-see for anyone interested in stories that delve into the complexities of the human condition.
Albert Nobbs is a 2011 drama. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7 and a MetaScore of 57.