Albert Nobbs

Albert Nobbs

(M) Hopscotch DVD/BD

Glenn Close stars as “Albert”, a woman pretending to be a man to survive and get ahead in male-dominated late 19th century Ireland.

Working as a butler in a hotel in Dublin, her routine shows us that she’s obviously been doing this for years — we never even learn her real name — but it is apparent that, as well as possessing very little self-confidence, she still lives each day in  real fear of discovery.

Close apparently pushed for this film to be made for years (she even had a hand in the screenplay) and, while it is mildly fascinating and overall rather well executed, it unfortunately left me a little cold.

Maybe this is because we never really get to know Albert. Either that or we do and what she is really isn’t all that compelling.

Close’s performance is of course faultless but the real energy comes from Hubert Page (Janet McTeer), a woman Albert is shocked to find in the same situation as herself.

Hubert, however, is much happier than Albert, having found herself a wife who shares her secret.

Lonely and tired, Albert begins to long for the same thing. After so many years of secrecy and suppression, all she wants is to do is open a little shop and be her own master.

So she begins to court Helen (Mia Wasikowska), a young maid who is aware that there is something very strange about Albert and is in love with Joe (Aaron Johnson) anyway.

One wonders why Albert wastes her time on such an unsuitable candidate. It’s sad.

By the end, I echoed the sentiments of Dr Holloran (Brendan Gleeson): “I don’t know what makes people live such miserable lives.” Thankfully, a couple of the supporting characters added intrigue to an otherwise dull and strangely empty conclusion.

Jasmine Edwards

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