Albert Nobbs

"Good"

Albert Nobbs Review


Based on a true story, this introspective film seems to suggest that these events aren't perhaps as extraordinary as they appear. But the strong premise is weakened by writing and direction that never get a grip on the story.

In 1898, Albert (Close) works at an upscale Dublin hotel, and no one suspects that he's actually a woman. Quietly going about his work while saving to open a tobacco shop, Albert is unassuming and relentlessly polite. Then he's asked to share his room with visiting painter Hubert (McTeer), who learns his secret and reveals one of his own: he's a woman too. But Hubert has managed to have a normal married life. This inspires Albert to pursue the hotel maid Helen (Wasikowska), which is complicated by her lusty relationship with handyman Joe (Johnson).

The plot is involving, as are the issues it explores. The film continually finds present-day resonance in 19th century Ireland, mainly because it avoids politics: both Albert and Hubert have turned to cross-dressing for deeply personal reasons that have more to do with who they are than the harsh environment for single women. And the film throws in sideways comments that these issues are just as relevant in the upper classes.

But the film stumbles by refusing to focus on Albert's story. Like Albert himself, his journey lurks in the movie's corners, as the filmmakers get distracted by Helen and Joe's messy romance. It's well-played by Wasikowska and Johnson, but its passion and complexity undermine Albert's journey, which should be even more wrenchingly emotional.

This certainly isn't Close's fault: she approaches the role from the inside out, conveying everything with a flick of an eye or a slight tilt of the head.

And her brave, raw scenes with McTeer are electric, partly because McTeer's uncanny performance bursts with imposing physicality in stark contrast to the mousy Albert. In one exquisite scene, these two "men" go for a stroll in frilly dresses, showing just how distant their femininity has become. If only the film had kept its focus more securely on them, we would have emerged at the end both shaken and empowered. As it is, we're just left pondering a strange little story.



Albert Nobbs

Facts and Figures

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 22nd February 2012

Box Office USA: $3.0M

Budget: $8M

Distributed by: Roadside Attractions

Production compaines: Chrysalis Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Fresh: 83 Rotten: 65

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Albert Nobbs, as Helen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Joe, as Hubert Page, as Margaret Baker, as Dr. Holloran

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.