I am sure that we have all seen a sad movie at some point, but probably none like the film “Albert Nobbs.” Some viewers may even say that “Albert Nobbs” takes sadness to a whole different level. I must say that I found this film to be both sad and unusual. The film is based on a story that was written by George Moore, an Irish realist writer.
Throughout the film, Albert, who is played by Glenn Close, is considered to be a strange man, but the reality is that Albert is a woman. This 19th-century English woman chose to live life as a man because of fear. Albert’s anxiety comes from having been raped by a gang in her childhood. Every day, Albert dreads that her secret will be exposed, and she will lose her job. Albert works at a Dublin hotel as a waiter and butler. One of the reasons she got the job at this hotel was because she was a man. They would only hire a man for the job at the time period, and Albert needed the security of the position.
The hotel has many interesting employees, who all, in some way or another, are linked to Albert. We have Helen, played by Mia Wasikowska, who is the young blonde eventually pursued by Albert. Helen faces a tough decision when she falls for Joe, portrayed by Aaron Johnson, the new addition to the hotel staff. Joe, the young handsome handyman, seems to be a nice young fellow who sweeps Helen right off her feet, only for Helen to later realize that he will leave her because the news of her pregnancy is too much for him to handle.
Albert does truly care for Helen but not in a romantic way. Albert really just thinks of Helen as a form of company and, potentially, a business partner. Albert’s biggest desire is to own a little tobacco shop, and she has been saving up money to purchase a little store in town in order to transform it into a tobacco shop and, eventually, retire to the sea.
One day, Hubert Page, a painter who also has a secret, is painting at the hotel. Hubert, like Albert, is also clandestinely revealed to be a woman. Hubert adopted the persona of a man when her husband started to abuse her, and she decided to leave and start a new life. When Albert discovers Hubert’s secret, she does not know what to do with herself. She never imagined that there were people just like her out there, pretending to be something that they are not. Hubert brings hope into Albert’s life. Seeing that Hubert lives a normal life, Albert desires a similar one without the constant fear of exposure.
Hubert’s character definitely shines in the movie. Despite her past, she picks up her life and knows how to live, something that Albert does not. Unlike Albert, Hubert does not just sit around in despair. She faces the world with confidence, accepting who she chose to be. It makes one wish that Albert had that confidence and began a new, independent life as well.
The general idea of the movie is somewhat interesting, but it may not be enough to grab the attention of college students, that is, unless the director were to add more scenes that included Aaron Johnson’s character.
First-year Kayla Stickell, who has seen the film, stated, “You just feel bad for the women in the movie because they have to live a lie. I thought it was sad but also disturbing.”
I would say that the film did interest me a little, but, for me, this was not enough. It was too unusual for my liking. The character of Albert is so emotionless that it was hard to keep watching. There was not much happiness to be found, and sometimes you just need that as a viewer. The fact that Albert is so unhappy makes it sad and hard to watch. I do realize that what happened to Albert was a terrible thing and that she chose to be a man out of fear, but I wish she would have been a little more emotional instead of just staring blankly at all times. It was sad to see Albert have to live such a life and to never be able to make her dream come true.