Storyline: A woman passes as a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland. Some thirty years after donning men’s clothing, she finds herself trapped in a prison of her own making.
Release Date: Jan 27, 2012
My Review: As an English woman passing as a man, Albert Nobbs has worked as a waiter much of her life. Saving all her earnings, she has plans to open a tobacco shop. As Mr. Page, the painter, enters the story, Albert’s dreams take a different turn. She discovers that Mr.Page, like herself, is woman, a married woman nonetheless. Albert’s curiosity is strung enough to let her dreams wander further, now, to have a tobacco shop and a wife. Albert begins to explore her options, but doesn’t take her long until she decides to concentrate on one of her co-workers as a candidate. The maid has no idea that Albert is actually a woman, but goes along with the unlikely and odd relationship, in return, she gets all she asks for.
Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson all star in this drama. Glenn Close does a great job portraying Nobbs as a creepy, stiff, old man. Nobbs takes the role of a man after being gang raped when she was young. She made a choice to secretly live the life of a man as form of protection, and in that, she became imprisoned in her own body. Not in the sense of gender confusion, but that she was doing it for so long that this became her life. But the movie doesn’t go too deep into detail with Nobbs’ character, she was a woman, got traumatized, and then she became a man, and with that, Nobbs is nothing but a bland, silent, awkward little man. Nobbs rarely expresses any signs of emotion, especially in the relationship with the maid (played by Mia). As for character development, there is no progress. We can’t see beyond the cautious and mysterious Mr. Nobbs. We don’t really see exactly how she feels in contrast to the other characters, especially Mia, who is not shy in expressing her thoughts.
This film was not a take on sexuality as we may view that topic today, but rather, a 19th century political stance on the subject. It also looks into how one can deceive others in keeping such a big secret, while highlighting the struggles of a woman. Even towards the end, when the maid had a baby out of wedlock, feeling the threat of losing the child, we are given the impression that Mr. Page will help support her by taking her in, possibly as a wife.
Besides the mystery behind Nobbs, the film was well-rounded and the actors deserve the Oscar nominations. Slow at times but it was a good film, 8/10