Takeaway: With humor perfectly placed, performances never letting us forget the true nature of the people behind the behavior, and direction making us genuinely concerned for them, Albert Nobbs deserves time on the calendar of every drama fan. And every awards-watcher. And everyone who loves a love story. You’ll notice no mention of anyone interested in the mechanics of hiding a huge secret, or of What It Means to be doing so. Such elements merely occasion our conversation. Instead, Albert Nobbs establishes the facts and circumstances and moves immediately into its own true nature ~ that of exploring what comprises a safe, authentic, hopeful, and perhaps even fulfilled life, and the various ways in which we go about creating that. Though ostensibly about a woman’s experience of passing as a man (and secondarily the various reasons one might do so), Albert Nobbs is less about gender power issues and who pairs up with whom, and more about identifying what one deems to be a good life for oneself and working to arrange that ~ via good or ill toward others as one’s nature dictates…. No matter our gender, class, orientation, aspirations, or histories, we can all spot ourselves in Albert Nobbs, and gain a glimpse into what is going on all around us. It also leaves several elements open for question, allowing room for additional reflection, but does so without leaving us hanging. Truly a superb production. Glenn Close’s performance astonishes of course, deserving every nomination and win ~ and for the record, not simply for portraying against gender. Keep The Stepford Wives in your mind as things proceed, and prepare to be dumbstruck.
Story: A 19th-century Irish woman, successfully passing as a man in order to survive on her own, glimpses the possibility of there being much more available in life than she imagined, and sets about pursuing it.
Starring: Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Brendan Gleeson, Pauline Collins, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Brenda Fricker, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Directed by: Rodrigo García (of HBO’s In Treatment fame, uses those skills here)
See it if: You enjoy character studies (stories that address deeply the motivations and backstory underlying a person’s behavior) and experiencing life during times, places, and situations utterly different than your own.
Skip it if: … Let’s see… really no reason to skip it. There are several couples of varying sexual orientation involved, only one of which is married, so if that reality of daily life is a tender spot, then that would be the one reason.
Running time: 113 minutes
Official site: http://albertnobbs-themovie.com
Houston release date: January 27, 2012
Tickets: Check Fandango.com or your local listings