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OSCARS REVIEW: Glenn Close Shines In "Albert Nobbs"

Lindsay Berg |
February 8, 2012 | 4:01 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter


(Courtesy of thereelbits.com)
(Courtesy of thereelbits.com)
One look at the trailer or synopsis makes it clear – “Albert Nobbs” is not for everyone. The subject matter could turn someone away from seeing the film. But, if you don’t give “Albert Nobbs” a chance, you’ll miss one of the best performances of the year.

Glenn Close (“Damages”) has been nominated for her sixth Academy Award, her third for best actress in a leading role, for her passionate portrayal of title character, Albert Nobbs. Mister Nobbs is the most respected waiter at Chateau Marmont in late 19th century Dublin, with big dreams of getting a wife and opening up his very own tobacco shop. With most of his money saved up and a girl in mind, Albert has only one problem - he’s a woman. 

This conflict between his big dreams and living a lie that is a secret to all but one, gives Close the opportunity of a great role. But the same restrictions that are placed on Albert make the performance all the more incredible. 

Albert is a survivor that hardly lets an emotion show. He is hopeful, but not foolish. He is desperate for human companionship, yet he keeps his true self hidden from everyone else. Albert wants to get married and find someone he loves, but he is sexless and trapped living someone else’s life. Close is left with the arduous task of showing hints of emotions on an otherwise stoic face. She is able to reveal Albert’s true feelings to the viewer, even though Albert must hide his feelings from everyone else on the screen. She does this with ease. 

One reason that Close’s performance was so powerful was her dedication and closeness to the project. “Albert Nobbs” was based off of a short story by George Moore. Close fell in love with the tale and starred in the 1982 off-Broadway production of the play. The actress took pains for the next 30 years to get the film onto the big screen. You can see her love for the story and the role in every scene, not only through her acting but through the writing, production and music. Not only did Close co-write the screenplay, she also helped produce the film and wrote the original theme song for the film, sung by Sinead O’Connor. 

Close’s passion for the project showed in the performances by her co-stars and director. Although the story and film as a whole, to me, was far from winning any Academy Awards, Close’s vision for the film and belief in its success made director Rodrigo Garcia, son of Colombian writer Gabriel Carcia Marquez, shine. Rising star Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”) delivers another mature performance for such a young actress with the help of her on-screen love interest Aaron Johnson (“Kick-Ass”).

However, Close’s performance is only paralleled by that of Janet McTeer (“Tumbleweeds”). McTeer received her second Oscar nomination for her role as Hubert Page, a lesbian, living as a man with the love of his life. Page serves as a model for Nobbs and the life that he eventually wants. McTeer’s Page has a rough, confident exterior, but a very kind heart. My favorite scene of McTeer and Close was when they went on the beach in Ireland wearing dresses. The two were free to act like women for just a moment, showing a different side to each character and actress’ talents. 

Although Close and McTeer and both up against steep competition in their respective Oscar categories, they deserve to be right next to Streep and Spencer on that Academy Award ballot. 

Reach Lindsay here.




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