Movie Review: Albert Nobbs (2011)

What an unusual fictional story about taking on the opposite gender for the benefits of making ends meet in the 19th century Dublin, Ireland. It would have been quite scary and lonely for a bastard to navigate in an era where gender and religion mattered. Glenn Close‘s Albert Nobbs projected that in a strait-laced hotel waiter, quite fittingly, “corseted” his secrets tight against his chest. He didn’t allow himself one breath for any inadvertent slip-ups. Avoid he did, for thirty years and with close to 600 pounds sweat and tears buried down beneath one piece of wooden plank on the floor in his own staff room of a Morrison’s hotel.



A glimpse of hope, in this case, ruined a life. This could have been another heroine story, those championed the odds, and came out victorious, but here, Albert Nobbs was a simpleton in a true literal sense. He only craved for normalcy: husband and wife. Yet, even in a fable, he didn’t get the happy ending. This tells you how dreary and morbid this film turned out to be. In other words, if you are looking for inspiration or an up-lifting story that depicts gay and lesbian pioneers, this ain’t the one. A psychology case study, then you have the right stuff.

The film showed the life of lesbian couple, Hubert Page(Janet McTeer) and Cathleen(Bronagh Gallagher) …, and that of clandestine gay Viscount Yarrell (Jonathan Rhys Meyers); obviously he swings both ways. Albert’s fantasy becomes  hope after encountering Hubert, a house painter, who shares a bed with him upon the hotel owner’s, Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins), insistence.

The psychology of Nobbs, perhaps, is the more intriguing, and more fallible. Could someone be really that naïve even given an awful childhood experience? Could someone imprison her own self for 30 years and therefore, lose her sense of reality beyond her daily work? Did she never get sick in the last 30 years? what about her woman’s problems?

As usual, sometimes, or most of the time, I just took the film as it was. Don’t ask!

BTW, to keep an audience entertained, it included young love, Helen(Mia Wasikowska) and Joe (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), an unplanned pregnancy, and America, the Land of Hopes.

WATCH…I mean Close and McTeer did deserve to be nominated for the Oscar. Quite mesmerizing performances.


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