Glenn Close plays a woman masquerading as a man in 19th-century Ireland in the new film "Albert Nobbs," and Close and her co-star Janet McTeer have received well-deserved Academy Award nominations for their performances. NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.
Glenn Close played the title character of "Albert Nobbs" off-Broadway 30 years ago. Since then, she has spent many years trying to bring it to the screen and has finally achieved her goal.
Albert Nobbs, played by Close, is a woman masquerading as a man in 19th-century Ireland. Wages were much larger for men back in those days and working women received little respect. But the payday is just one of the reasons that Nobbs chooses to live as a man. I won't reveal the others.
Nobbs is a quiet, dutiful butler at an upscale hotel. He basically makes himself invisible, but has higher aspirations to open a tobacco shop with his savings.
The shopkeeper dreams become more of a reality when Nobbs runs into a painter at the hotel, Mr. Page, played by Janet McTeer, who harbors a secret as well. It's Page who Nobbs draws inspiration from, and who makes Nobbs believe that anything is possible.
The film not only evokes the period quite well, but has a fine story to tell. Close co-wrote the screenplay and also serves as a producer. Director Rodrigo Garcia, who directed the brilliant movie "Nine Lives," loads the film with some excellent subtle touches.
As Nobbs, Close does a terrific job and McTeer, in some ways, is even more amazing. Both have been rewarded with Oscar nominations for their exceptional work and even thought the odds aren't in her favor here, I'd love to see McTeer win.
There's more that I can tell you plot-wise, including Nobbs wooing of a housemaid and a scene with both of the main characters, on a beach and out of character, that is revelatory. But why ruin the surprises? Go see for yourself.
It's an interesting slice of life during a period in time where the saying "desperate times call for desperate measures" is aptly put, where posing as a woman to survive in a male-dominated world seems reasonable.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: 3.5 Apples