Sunday, August 26, 2012

Albert Nobbs (2011)

Directed By: Rodrigo Garcia

Rating: R

Runtime: 113 minutes

Glenn Close is most certainly an actress of many talents, which she proves time and time again. We've watched her perform as the psychotic temptress in "Fatal Attraction" and more recently as top-notch hard-as-nails New York City lawyer Patty Hewes in the popular television series "Damages." Now, we get to see Ms. Close in a whole new light for her role as Albert Nobbs, a humble hard-working woman living in late 19th century Ireland. 

"Albert Nobbs" is the story of a woman with a victimized past who decides to take on a male persona and become a waiter at an upscale hotel in Dublin. In a society dominated by the male hierarchy, "Albert Nobbs" explores the world of false identities and hopeless dreams. Nobbs, our main character, has a past that seems to claw at her almost everyday. It's the reason that she has changed her identity and seeks to create a family of her own, complete with a wife - if that's even possible! Through her long withstanding service at the hotel, Nobbs has saved a healthy sum of money, which will be used to open her own Tobacco store. Her fortune will be complete with her vision of a proper partner, a chambermaid named Helen, played by Mia Wasikowska.

Close's performance portraying a man deserves a head nod - my goodness she even sounds like a man! Her facial expressions and general mannerisms when playing Nobbs are effective and gives us a thorough insight as to how plagued and intimidated this poor soul really is. Lips pursed, shoulders straight, and eyes that constantly dart around the room, Nobbs appears to be panicked and scared to death throughout most of the film. This makes sense, doesn't it? A woman playing at being a man would most certainly be a bit paranoid with the ruse. What if somebody finds out?

Not only do we find false identities in this film, but we also see false intentions as Nobbs is baited along by the beautiful Helen, who walks with him only to receive the benefits of luxurious gifts. Helen is a woman attracted to the likes of the bad boy boiler named Joe. Although Nobbs can promise her a safe future, Helen keeps hold of her false hopes to run away to America with smooth talking Joe. If you're the kind of person who hangs onto the happily-ever-after scenario, then perhaps this film is not for you. Just know that the ending is appropriate for the film's tone and everything ends up as it should be, no strings attached.   

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