By: Staff Writer Emily Johnson
1 hr 53 min
Why I couldn’t make it Through Albert Nobbs
Okay, Internet. Take note: today is one of those rare days where I admit that I was wrong. Fellow staff writers Thomas and Nathaniel told me they wouldn’t watch Albert Nobbs with me because it looked boring. My response to that? “Well, it was nominated for an Oscar, it has to be good!” Famous last words.
This is not to say that I don’t appreciate Albert Nobbs for being a well-made film, because I do. And I’m sure there were plenty of people out there that loved it. I just wasn’t one of them.
I didn’t actually finish the movie (if this means I’m not allowed to be reviewing it, I apologize). And here’s the #1 reason why I couldn’t: I just didn’t buy that anyone would look at Glenn Close as and actually believe that she was a man. For those of you who have never heard of Albert Nobbs, Glenn Close plays the title character, who is actually a woman, but lives her life disguised as a man to find work in 19th century Dublin.
Okay, I need everyone’s opinion on this one. But am I the only one who just sees Glenn Close in a suit, as opposed to buying that this could be a rather effeminate man? Could this just be a function of the fact that I knew going into the movie that Albert Nobbs was a woman?
All I know is I spent the half of the movie that I actually did watch thinking “BUT HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW HE’S A WOMAN?” And then this guy!
This isn’t much of a spoiler, but early on in the film Albert meets another woman disguised as a man when he/she comes to paint the laundry room at the hotel Albert works at. But my first thought when I saw this character (who I had no idea was going to exist before I saw the movie, which I think could debunk my theory that I didn’t buy into Albert Nobbs because I knew it was a woman from the start) was “well clearly that’s a very tall woman in a suit.” From the side, it was even clearly obvious he/she had breasts.
Now I don’t know if Albert Nobbs is based on a real phenomenon in Ireland where women actually did dress up as men to find work. If so, I’d definitely be interested to see if there are any photographs still around to see what these people looked like. But I really highly doubt that people would look at these two “men” and not even have a passing thought that they were women. Because, like I said, it was the #1 reason why I couldn’t finish the movie.
I’m going to feel like a total idiot if it turns out someone is going to correct me saying that by the end of the film the entire city of Dublin says “well duh, of course we knew they were women, we’re not stupid.” I really should have finished the movie, I know. It just wasn’t keeping my attention.
“A” for effort on Glenn Close, definitely. It is Glenn Close, after all. She threw herself into Albert Nobbs and whether or not I agreed with the makeup departments take on her historical cross-dressing I can admit that she did an excellent job portraying the character. It was just the character she played didn’t sit well with me.
That’s all I’m going to say on Albert Nobbs. Since I didn’t finish it, I’m not going to leave a rating or talk about anything else in the film. For our MILLIONS (thousands? Hundreds? Tens?) of readers out there, leave a comment if you’ve seen this movie and tell me what you think of these women/men, I’d love to hear other perspectives on it.
And to Thomas and Nathaniel: Yes, you were right. But don’t get used to it 🙂