Saturday, 18 February 2012

Albert Nobbs

You won’t find too many films in which two women are pretending (successfully) to be men. That Glenn Close and Janet McTeer do so almost effortlessly is what makes Albert Nobbs fun to watch - that and some good cinematography. Close and McTeer very much deserve their Oscar nominations.

Unfortunately, their brilliant performances are somewhat wasted in a rather lacklustre story that just never managed to engage me. Albert Nobbs tells the story of a lonely, unhappy hotel butler/waiter in 19th century Dublin who is actually a woman (Close). Nobbs has dreams and is saving money to buy a shop of his/her own, but it is hard to imagine her ever being happy until she meets a painter named Hubert Page (McTeer) who is also pretending to be a man. This discovery is followed by brief glimpses of hope and vitality in Nobbs, but she doesn’t have the social skills to do anything with these.

Albert Nobbs has the potential to be engaging but the character of Nobbs and the side story about one of the maids (played by Mia Wasikowska) just don’t let it happen. The most interesting characters in the film are Page (McTeer) and the hotel doctor (played well by Brendan Gleeson), who don’t get enough airtime.

I will give Albert Nobbs *** for the acting. My mug is up, but the stuff inside is another one of those bland blends.

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