ALBERT NOBBS-- Directed by Rodrigo García/Starring Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska and Janet McTeer/screenplay written by Glenn Close & John Banville from a short story by George Moore/rated R/113 min
Bifocal Reviews written by Barbara & Gordon Rich
(B) I have a propensity toward this period in Europe. This film takes place in old Ireland within the Masterpiece Classic/Upstairs Downstairs genre. Therefore I was very comfortable with the whole ambience of this film. Glenn Close was convincing in her role, but even more perfectly cast was Janet McTeer, whose role was also that of a woman posing as a male. I left the theater wondering if this sort of thing actually occurred during that time, or if this film was based in any way on a true story. I think it will be a tooth-n-nail battle between Close and Streep for best actress, but this might leave the field open for Viola Davis to walk away with the statuette. I give this one two binoculars.
(G) The Academy—second only to their favoritism of Hollywood themed films—loves the British-connection, as well as those roles that require heavy make-up or gender-reversal. They also don’t appear to be able to make clear choices between big box office stars (which is why Clooney and Pitt might cancel each other out in the Best Actor category....but that’s another issue). In this case, I believe that Close and Streep will cancel each other out for best actress, opening the door for Viola Davis to win big for The Help. In this case, I will be happy to see the Oscar go to Ms. Davis, even though both Close and Streep were very classy in their portrayals. As for Albert Nobbs, the director’s handling of the subject matter, scriptwriting and actor’s portrayals were handled with class. Close also earned scriptwriting credits on this one, which I always like to see. There was one particular scene that stuck with me. That was when the two characters played by Glenn Close and Janet McTeer (women who had been posing as men for many years) decided to take a walkabout in dresses. Close’s exuberant run on the beach added a brilliantly decorated layer to the complex title character. You never knew if she was a completely unhappy woman pretending to be a man, or a man at the core, who had been trapped in a woman’s body for an unfortunate period of time…or a little of both. In any event, even though the film was less than two hours, it seemed longer. I hate to do it again, but I agree with Barbara…this one is worth seeing. I give it two binoculars.