Saturday, March 03, 2012

Glenn Close, in Albert Nobbs

approximately 63 minutes and 18 seconds

58.7% of the film

The film

Albert Nobbs is a woman living as a man in order to find work in the harsh environment of 19th-century Ireland.

You can read my short review of the film just by clicking HERE.

It’s a film with problems, the biggest one being not focusing on the key characters and sometimes wasting the story on supporting clich├ęd characters. Even so, I tried to like it because it’s a dear project for Glenn; the film was always easy to watch, just not always interesting.

Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs

An Oscar comeback always makes me happy, and especially one for Glenn Close, who used to rule the 1980s and is such a talented actress. The nomination itself is a little miracle, given it’s an independent film, she’s struggled for years to get it done and the film itself has been tore to pieces by critics. And still, here she is, in what is easily the most unusual performance of this Best Actress line-up; in my opinion more so than Rooney Mara’s.

Glenn plays Albert Nobbs, a woman that has been pretending to be a man for over 30 years, doing so to overcome a childhood trauma, to find a job and to try to fit in as a butler in a Dublin hotel. She saves every penny dreaming of a tobacco shop and, why not, of a young wife. It’s an unusual character, not only because it’s a woman pretending to be a man, but because it’s a character that lives in a world of its own, feeding her life with dreams that would never fulfil.

I think a lot of people dislike the performance because it’s such a hard to like character. I try to separate these two elements: yes, there’s nothing to like about Albert Nobbs and I felt sorry about her, because she really is kind of a small, invisible, uncharismatic person that you’d never notice. This is obvious when presented in contrast to Janet McTeer’s Hubert Page.

Not only is Albert dislikeable, she’s also a bit of a selfish person, something that is clearly obvious in the scene after Cathleen death; she can only think of her own good and of her tobacco shop obsession. Glenn is wonderful when it comes to the details, and I love it how she nuances the performance, and you can tell it stood with her for years. She loses herself in this portrayal and makes it very authentic. The shyness of Albert, the constant fear of rejection by the society, these are all played very well.

By its own existence, this is a flashy character to play, but Glenn plays it as subtly as possible, understanding the needs, feelings and reactions that Albert could be capable of. The transformation is quite impressive, and Glenn nails the physicality of the performance; this really IS a character that very few actresses could’ve played convincingly.

While I didn’t feel a strong emotional connection to the character, nor did I completely understand it, I like what Glenn did with it, the amount of work that she’s put into the performance trying to keep it as easy looking and natural as possible. The entire performance is on Albert’s face. To me, this is an almost . I don’t understand the haters, because to me it’s obvious that Glenn does the best she can given the character’s restraints.


Dinaszite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dinasztie said...

I loved her. She's wonderful. I'm stunned by the haters. :O Glad you liked her.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

It's a 3/5 for me (she just barely missed my ballot, and now I wonder if I shouldn't have included her) but I'm so happy you liked it. She does do the best she can, if only the film were more focused. And more importantly, I don't think anyone could have played it better. Close does such smart work, which only shows that she's not lost it. Still one of cinema's treasures.

Anonymous said...

I like her, but she wasn't given much to do. For a performance it wasn't bad, but for an Oscar nominated performance it is OK at best. The character simply has no range.

Anonymous said...

I agree! I was fascinated by this performance, and thought she pulled off the gender swap as best she could.

I hate that everyone was comparing it to Barbra in Yentl, because she was soooo much better at being a guy than her.

dinasztie said...

I've made this video on my other account about Great Glenn and her Oscar journey this year (sorry for the lame editing):

Calum Reed said...

I think she internalises too much of the performance, probably through being too immersed in the character's psyche after having fought to get the film made for so long. It didn't translate on screen to me, although I appreciate her in the scenes with McTeer (who I prefer).

Anonymous said...

You find Close convincing as a man? I found her laughable. What an obvious Oscar bait.

Alex in Movieland said...

Thanks guys for the great comments.

Yes, I agree: she's still "hungry" for good roles! :) here's hoping she's get a chance to show that. Anyway, she's locked for an Honorary Oscar 10 years from now.

yes, I'm also stunned by the haters. :(

I have yet to see Yentl, though I haven't read such a comparison yet. :P

I think the internalizing is part of the character. :) I didn't have a problem with that.

Anonymous said...

I never saw this movie but it looks pretty interesting. Now it's on my list of film to see.

Anonymous said...

I never saw this movie but it looks pretty interesting. Now it's on my list of film to see.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Tsk tsk to the haters. I liked the movie itself more than most, but Close's performance alone brought me to tears. She's so perfect in her comic and dramatic timing, and allows us to understand so much even when she shows us so little. A well-deserved four stars :).

Runs Like A Gay said...

Just saw this at the weekend, and will review later but I have to say I agree with all your comments.

A wonderful performance by Close, such a shame the film around her wasn't as good. But that seems to be the case with all of this years crop.