Albert Nobbs

Directed By: Rodrigo García

Starring: Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Janet McTeer, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brendan Gleeson, and Maria Doyle Kennedy

January is the worst time of year for movies.  We as moviegoers get the short end of the stick in so many ways.  For mainstream films, we get all the crap that studios can't put out any other time of the year when there's real competition.  For indie films, we're stuck with the flicks we've already seen in the fall.  They've gotten nods for awards, so they're crowding out other potential gems.  It's a lose-lose situation.  Not surprisingly, another Oscar contender hits theaters this week — Rodrigo García's Albert Nobbs.

Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) is a strange little man.  For the last thirty years, he's been hiding the fact that he is actually a she.  Albert has worked as a waiter at a hotel in Ireland where she's been saving money to buy a shop.  For the last three decades, she has diligently saved her tips from hotel patrons.  As she nears her savings goal, she runs into one big problem.  Someone discovers her secret that she's a woman.

The mark of a truly awful film is laughter.  When a film is so bad that the audience can't help themselves from laughing during some of the film's most serious moments, we have a problem.  Unfortunately, Albert Nobbs fits that description perfectly.  It's one of those dramas that is utterly boring up until the final 20 minutes of the movie.  The filmmakers have a relatively interesting premise where Nobbs is trying to repress the fact that she's a woman, but they do nothing to make the plot of the film rich with drama and suspense.  They don't do anything to appeal to the audience.  I was seriously tempted to get some shuteye during this one.

Production is a big issue for Albert Nobbs.  Although the movie is a period piece that dates back to the early twentieth century, director Rodrigo García does nothing to show it.  It's 1910 in the film, but it would have been reasonable to guess some other time or even some other century.  There are no set pieces or props that indicate the era the film is depicting.  Another production issue is the makeup, which is terrible.  There was no point in the film during which I actually thought Nobbs was a man.  For that matter, García can't convince me that none of the characters in the film can tell that she's a woman.  They somehow missed this for three decades.  I highly doubt that.

I came into Albert Nobbs with a couple of glasses of Chardonnay, but that certainly wasn't enough.  I needed some shots.  I could have really enjoyed the flick with a few Irish car bombs in my system.  Albert Nobbs is a disastrous drama that I wouldn't make my worst enemy watch without plenty of liquor on hand.  Glenn Close's latest flick gets a wasted rating.