Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Albert Nobbs

If you're ever in the mood for female-to-male, 19th-century, Irish cross-dressers, Albert Nobbs, starring Glenn Close, may be the perfect film for you.

Glenn Close stars as the titular Albert Nobbs, a hotel waiter in 19th-century Ireland. Living as a man her entire life following a traumatic childhood experience, she hides her secret well, with no one except a part-time painter at the hotel, Hubert Page, (Janet McTeer), also passing as male, knowing. She found out after they have to share a room at the hotel. Nobbs has dreams beyond the hotel, having saved her money for several decades with opening a tobacco shop in mind. She realizes that she would like to have a wife by her side as she embarks on this new adventure upon learning that Page had also taken a wife, and has her eyes set on Helen Dawes (Mia Wasikowska), a maid at the same hotel. The movie follows Nobbs as she struggles with her gender identity, life goals and competition for her object of affection.

The film, story-wise, wasn't great, but it did garner well-deserved nominations for Janet McTeer and Glenn Close (leave it to the most established players in the room to save a middling film!). Neither won, but their performances were great nonetheless. The film, though, felt a little sappy at points for my taste. I think McTeer best saved it from being too saccharine. The movie did have some promising new faces in Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson. I'm still not sure how I feel about Wasikowska, though. She's charming enough, but her characters are always annoyingly juvenile, despite being adults. I really like Johnson in Kickass, I think the comedy suited him a bit better than this does. If you're going to see this one, definitely see it for Close or McTeer (or the incredible make-up), they make the film worth it!

Sinead O'Connor - "Lay Your Head Down"

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