Albert Nobbs: directed by Rodrigo Garcia; written by Istvan Szabo, Gabriella Prekop, John Banville and Glenn Close
The thing about Albert Nobbs is that I’m constantly unsure as to what it’s trying t0 convey. Only last week in my Carnage review I mentioned that sometimes a film has to be worth more than its mere content and by that notion were I to judge Albert Nobbs not by what it gives us, but by how it is presented we are given a sumptuously mounted tale of a character we don’t know or even truly understand. I make reference to Carnage not only because it was the last film I saw before this but because both contain an intriguing similarity even though the results are starkly different.
If you have observed Glenn Close in interviews you’d notice how self-effacing an actor she is and in that vein it does not surprise me that with her credited as writer and producer Albert emerges as such an overwhelmingly reticent character, one who does not immediately – if ever – emerge as one eclectic enough to demand our attention. It makes me think, then, of our sensibilities as film enthusiasts. Close circumvents the usual formula and delivers s a character overflowing with reticence and it makes me think that, perhaps, the major point is that Albert’s only interesting facet is that he is in fact a she and I must admire the film for treating it as such a nonissue, even though it is a specious decision. For the inherent flaw in Albert Nobbs is that it approaches its protagonist as if it were a hallowed figure constantly tiptoeing around the darker proclivities robbing it of levity and power.