Albert Nobbs (Blu-ray Review)23 May, 2012 By: Angelique Flores
Box Office $3.01 million
$27.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for some sexuality, brief nudity and language.
Stars Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Janet McTeer, Pauline Collins, Brenda Fricker, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brendan Gleeson.
The late 19th century was a rough time for women. The class divisions were arguably even worse.
Such social divides couldn’t have been clearer at Morrison’s, a posh hotel in Dublin run by Mrs. Baker.
Among the staff is butler Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close). He keeps to himself, never socializing with the rest of staff. He keeps his bedroom door locked and never shares much about himself. Nobbs is excellent at what he does and treats everyone with respect.
Still, he’s a strange fellow; only he’s not a fellow at all. He’s a woman.
Nobbs’ secret is revealed when Mrs. Baker forces him to share his room with a painter who has come do some work on the hotel. The friendly painter, Hubert Page, then reveals his own secret that he too is actually a woman. The two form a bond and exchange how they came to shed the handicap of their gender and live as men.
In seeing Hubert and his wife living a happy life, Nobbs is encouraged to take a wife as well and use his savings to open up a tobacco shop. With Hubert’s encouragement, he sets his sights on one of the hotel maids, Helen (Mia Wasijowska). However, Helen is involved with a recent hire, Joe.
Meanwhile, Joe encourages Helen to engage with Nobbs and use him for his money.
The triangle becomes sticky, leading to an ending that doesn’t pander to the audience.
Close, who rightfully earned an Academy Award nomination for the role, is stunning, often making you forget that Nobbs really is a woman. Kudos to the make-up as well, which also received an Oscar nomination.
The film looks gorgeous on Blu-ray, which brings both the crisp colors and the austerity to life.
The extras include deleted scenes that are interesting to watch and provide more depth to the characters. They most likely were cut only for time.
Even better than the deleted scenes is the audio commentary with director Rodrigo Garcia and Close, who also produced and co-wrote the screenplay. Close seems to have researched well the period, pointing out nuances one might not notice upon first viewing the film. Her insight adds a rich background and depth to the story and the characters and shows how the filmmakers took great care making sure each detail corresponded to the period.