Thursday, February 16, 2012

What I Saw: Albert Nobbs

What I Saw:   Albert Nobbs

In a powerful scene from Albert Nobbs, Glenn Close calls out a warning to Mia Wasikowska’s character: “He won't take you to America.”

It’s a factual statement, but more importantly it provides an insight into the soul of the title character and a commentary on keeping your expectations low that is informed by a lifetime of surviving under the radar.

In our era, the prevailing myth is that one should set one’s expectations high, and that everything is possible. Blockbuster movies sell us on the idea that true love will sweep us off our feet, that a pauper who works hard can become a world success, and that being oneself despite the odds always pays off. Albert (Glenn Close) knows better. From a young age, he dressed as a man in order to get a job as a waiter, dawning the clothes of another gender and another social class in order simply to survive. He speaks softly, and doesn’t draw attention to himself.

His world changes with the arrival of Hubert Page (Janet McTeer), and he begins to dream--but still only in very limited ways. He still can’t imagine himself running off to America, but thinks that maybe he can open a little shop to sell tobacco. He doesn’t fantasize about romantic love, but perhaps he can find a girl to help “serve at the counter.” Little dreams, for sure, but enough to be his undoing.

Oscar Chances:

Glenn Close had a dream too. She thought that if she produced, wrote and starred in a cross-gendered period piece, she’d be a sure bet to win an Oscar. She even wrote a song, “Lay Your Head Down.” It wasn’t such a crazy dream. She’d seen Hubert Page other actresses do it before, and the Academy is famous for giving awards based upon a long career. But in the same way that Aaron Johnson is the true apple of her intended’s eye, so have filmgoers been raving over her co-star Janet McTeer (who really is great in this film). Maybe Glenn will have a better chance in a few years when she plays a supporting role in Therese Raquin.

Lead Actress: Glenn Close (currently ranked 4)
Supporting Actress: Janet McTeer (currently ranked 3)
Makeup: Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle (currently ranked 3)

As always, check the Tracker Pages in the upper right hand corner of this blog for the most updated predictions in all categories!

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  1. I thought McTeer was even better than Close here. I liked the beginning of the movie – it reminded me of “Downtown Abby”, with all the help in the house and their conversations in the kitchen. I thought the movie was a bit too messy and too much focus went to Helen and her issues with her boyfriend. I thought it was quite boring and not worthy of the performances. Good review.

    1. Thanks Dan. Yeah, McTeer did overshadow Close quite a bit. Maybe the quieter role was harder to pull off (I'm not an actor so I don't know), but it seems like McTeer left the bigger impression.

    2. The beginning reminded me of Downton Abbey too! I wish more of the movie was like the first minutes.

    3. I actually haven't seen Downtown Abbey, although I know it's been picking up a lot of awards on the TV side.

  2. I found the movie to be quite boring, the script was very weak. Close was great, but McTeer was simply amazing - she created such a memorable performance, although everyone clearly put more impact on Close's character.

    1. Yeah, the story doesn't really go anywhere, with the most interesting part happening right at the end. Luckily, I'd been warned ahead of time, so I mostly just focused on the performances themselves.