Has never been as fatally unattractive

August 10th, 2012 10:00 am| by admin

Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons, Fatal Attraction) shines in this role as a woman who transforms herself into a male house-servant in order to survive the harsh work environment of 19th century Dublin. Keeping her identity a closely guarded secret, Albert Nobbs works as a butler in a hotel, dreaming of a time when the money he makes will afford him his own business and someone to share his life with. Trouble comes in the form of an in−house painter−decorator (McTeer) who, due to a lack of servants’ quarters, is assigned to share Nobbs’ bed.

Close gives everything that the part allows, of that there can be little argument − but is it enough to make us care? Clearly something of a pet project, Close also serves as the film’s producer and takes a co−writing credit too. It’s a shame then, that she could not elevate other elements of the film to a similar standard, so as to support her central performance, instead of distracting from it. The conventional structure sign−posts several developments, leaving us counting the minutes while hoping to be surprised before events unfold, all too often, as predicted. What was an initially promising premise becomes so slavishly formulaic that there is little left to hold one’s attention, especially whenever Close is off−screen.

One of the more interesting traits of Albert Nobbs’ character is his lack of life experience. We learn later of a brutal encounter in his early life that has led to his ‘closing down’ all modes of intimacy. This means his understanding of relationships are oddly immature; he understands the security offered by marriage as a mutual agreement, but the required passion or spark of love are alien concepts. Sadly, that complexity is dulled by the film’s overbearing preference for neatness.

Despite the transgender subject matter, the approach to this period drama is so classical and the plot so plodding and didactic that it feels ill at ease in this era of post−postmodernist overhauls of the genre (think Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice or Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights). Albert Nobbs is not without an audience, but it’s far more likely to find it on primetime television than in selected

Albert Nobbs (7)

Dir: Rodrigo Garcia, UK/Ireland drama, 2012, 113 minutes; Glenn Close, John Banville, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Brendan Gleeson
Premieres August 9
Playing nationwide


We can see the problems now, and that's making our politicians very nervous (photo: iStock)
You’re Still Here: We can see clearly now …
My dog listens to talk radio while we are out, which means I listen to ta...
The new parliamentary year officially begins (photo: Hasse Ferrold)
Folketinget officially kick-starts new parliamentary year
Folketinget, the Danish Parliament, officially began its new parliamentary ...
The new post centre in Taastrup will sort letters in a more efficient way (photo: iStock)
Post Danmark to lay off 135 employees
Post Danmark will lay off some 135 employees when the company moves from it...
Those who fail to come to a scheduled examination are likely to worsen their health problems, a doctor from Bispebjerg Hospital warns (photo: iStock)
No-shows at hospitals costing Denmark significant resources
Every year, tens of thousands of patients miss an appointment for scheduled...
Kristian Thulesen Dahl is the current leader of Dansk Folkeparti (photo: News Øresund)
Dansk Folkeparti celebrating 20th anniversary
Dansk Folkeparti (DF) is celebrating its 20th anniversary today. The rig...
The shots were fired into a building (photo: iStock)
Shots fired at estate agent’s in Copenhagen
Five to six shots were aimed at an estate agent's office on Smedtoften in t...