Albert Nobbs


Albert Nobbs
Directed by Rodrigo García
Roadside Attractions
Opens December 21

Fulfilling a mission that has consumed her for almost two decades, Glenn Close—as producer, co-writer, and lead—brings to the screen the titular character, a woman who passes as a man in 1890s Ireland, a role for which she won an Obie in 1982. The result of this passion project? Getting to look like Bruce Jenner in a bowler and high starched collar. Close's prosthetic makeup renders her face too immobile, a marked contrast with her unfixed accent; both highlight the pitfalls of a star's idée fixe. It's a shame, because the material—based on a novella by George Moore published in the 1927 collection Celibate Lives—deserves better. A punctilious butler at a Dublin hotel, Albert, who began his gender illusion at age 14 for economic and physical survival, can no longer remember the name he was born with. A friendship with housepainter Hubert Page (Janet McTeer), also deploying an F-to-M masquerade but enjoying a not-so-celibate life with a seamstress spouse, convinces lonely, pence-pinching Albert to pursue his dream of petite bourgeois propriety: opening a tobacco shop and trying to persuade a pretty hotel co-worker (Mia Wasikowska) to be his bride. But the characters' daring choices, made so as not to live "without decency"—that is, as penniless, unattached women in the late-Victorian era—are always undercut by Close's too-conventional stunt performance.

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I think you are really harsh on Glen Close. She is obviously trying to be totally incognito and attract as little attention as possible, Janetc tear is terrific as well


Close's "immobile" face is an acting choice. And a damn good one.


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