Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs (2011)

Fatal Dissatisfaction

At Morrison's hotel, owned by Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins), works Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) the hard working waiter who efficiently goes about business and keeping to the sides like any good waiter should do. But Albert has a secret, he is in fact a woman who in order to have a life has masqueraded as a man for a long time and been saving up the tips and wages in the hope of buying a business by the sea. But Albert's world is turned upside down when he is forced to share his room with decorator Hubert Page (Janet McTeer) and fears he will let slip that he is in fact a she only to be surprised when Hubert reveals he is also a she and a she who also has a wife. Suddenly contemplating whether he could do the same Albert's life gets rocked again by the arrival of Joe Mackins (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who wants maid Helen Dawes (Mia Wasikowska) to play Albert along to get their hands on his money so they can head to America.

"Albert Nobbs" is a fascinating movie which sucks you in and makes you wonder where it is going, sadly where it goes ends up a let down after the amusingly fascinating start. But that start is so good as we enter the Morrison's hotel and we are soon aware that everyone is living a lie as we become aware that not only is Albert Nobbs really a woman but there are various goings on behind the doors from a doctor having secret liaisons with a member of staff to two male guests in adjoining rooms whose womanizing is a disguise for their homosexuality. It is subtly amusing with some of this not being clear to those who are not paying attention.

Bronagh Gallagher and Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs (2011)

And this is built upon as we get Albert fearing that Hubert the decorator will blow her cover when Albert is forced to share his room leading to one of the movies most hilarious scenes thanks to Janet McTeer and the reactions of Glenn Close. All of this is an interesting look at the lives of those women who chose to masquerade as men to try and live independently rather than being the little woman on the end of abusive treatment from a husband. It is both eye opening and comical especially during the scenes which Glen Close and Janet McTeer share together.

The trouble is that whilst there are some further interesting developments when it comes to the masking of gender "Albert Nobbs" changes tracks when Albert takes an interest in Helen whilst Joe wants Helen to go along with it so they can get their hands on Albert's money. It is a generic story which whilst still entertaining is kind of disappointing after such an original build up.

As for the acting well unlike others I wasn't blown away by any of it, yes the acting was good all around and the comical performance from Janet McTeer was one of the movie's highlights but unlike others I never stopped thinking Glenn Close as I watched Albert Nobbs. Don't get me wrong as it is a good performance from Glenn Close but not to the point of leaving me blown away or allowing me to forget that it is Close playing a man.

What this all boils down to is that "Albert Nobbs" is a good movie and there is little which is wrong with it. But it is a movie which having an original set up then resorts to quite an ordinary storyline which for me lets it down.