Albert Nobbs [2011] ★★★

Glenn Close’s performance in Albert Nobbs” seems almost too good to be true, but that’s what makes it so effective. She first played the role of Albert Nobbs on stage some thirty years ago. Since then, she has dreamed of bringing the story to the screen, and has worked continuously to make it happen.  Now it’s here, and if I were to sum up my feelings about the film in two words, they would be “bizarrely fascinating”. Directed by Rodrigo Garcia (“Mother And Child”), “Albert Nobbs” is a movie that aches with sadness. Set in 19th century Ireland, the story focuses on a residential hotel in Dublin. When the film opens, we meet many of its residents, including the proprietress, an alcoholic doctor (Brendan Gleeson), and many servants, including the quiet butler Mr. Nobbs, who is gentle and always keeps to himself- that’s because he is in fact a woman. Why does she dress up as a male butler? The question is eventually answered over the course of the film ( I am deliberately leaving out details so that you can experience the full impact of the story yourself). The movie is a duel between Glenn Close and Janet McTeer (she also plays a woman who passes out as a male house painter), who both earned Oscar nominations for their truly wonderful performances. But performances aside, “Albert Nobbs” is a solid movie in every respect. It does lose some of its dramatic momentum in the last act, mainly because the climax is as inevitable as a Greek tragedy, but there is no question of its potency or originality.”Albert Nobbs” is no ordinary film, and it has the power to haunt your dreams. As for Glenn Close’s role, it’s a dramatic performance that feels devastatingly true.

Rating: 3/4

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