Albert Nobbs reviews

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Wed May 16, 2012 1:42 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Great analysis. That's exactly what she does.

I think you'd have to go all the way back to Maggie Smith in 1987's The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne to find a comparable portrait of repression. That film, too, took place in Dublin, albeit the Dublin of fifty years later.

As for the film itself, I don't know what people really expected to happen. There was not going to be a happy ending for Albert. He/she couldn't change despite wanting to. On the other hand, the affable Mr. Page and the slighlty dimwitted Helen seem to have a much better chance at happiness.


Yes, Oscar Guy is quite right. But as for the ending... SPOILER I didn't expect or want a happy ending, of course - just not such an easy device as "accidental death"...

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Wed May 16, 2012 3:17 am

OscarGuy wrote:I get why people feel Close is very static in the film, but I think it's a controlled choice on her part. Here's a woman pretending to be a man for many years. Not just a man, but a dutiful servant. Being a man is one thing, but being a male manservant is something entirely different. Servants were refined, reserved and repressed. She had to hide herself away in two personalities and after so many years of performance, she has ultimately forgotten how to be anything but. A smile here or there seems impossible for her, but she tries. She is infatuated with the new maid, but doesn't quite know how to express it. Her frequent outings with Mia Wasikowska's character shows her trying to be more like other men, but she doesn't know how. She's never had to live life like a real man. So, as she's trying to understand and break free from her own mental prison of the proper upright British manservant, of course it's going to come off stiff and forced. She no longer comprehends true emotion or the proper and accepted method of acting in the real world.

I accept her static nature as a rooted part of the performance. If you spent years acting and pretending to be a certain way, acting so much that it became routine, would you really know how to be anyone else?

Great analysis. That's exactly what she does.

I think you'd have to go all the way back to Maggie Smith in 1987's The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne to find a comparable portrait of repression. That film, too, took place in Dublin, albeit the Dublin of fifty years later.

As for the film itself, I don't know what people really expected to happen. There was not going to be a happy ending for Albert. He/she couldn't change despite wanting to. On the other hand, the affable Mr. Page and the slighlty dimwitted Helen seem to have a much better chance at happiness.

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Tue May 15, 2012 10:58 pm

I get why people feel Close is very static in the film, but I think it's a controlled choice on her part. Here's a woman pretending to be a man for many years. Not just a man, but a dutiful servant. Being a man is one thing, but being a male manservant is something entirely different. Servants were refined, reserved and repressed. She had to hide herself away in two personalities and after so many years of performance, she has ultimately forgotten how to be anything but. A smile here or there seems impossible for her, but she tries. She is infatuated with the new maid, but doesn't quite know how to express it. Her frequent outings with Mia Wasikowska's character shows her trying to be more like other men, but she doesn't know how. She's never had to live life like a real man. So, as she's trying to understand and break free from her own mental prison of the proper upright British manservant, of course it's going to come off stiff and forced. She no longer comprehends true emotion or the proper and accepted method of acting in the real world.

I accept her static nature as a rooted part of the performance. If you spent years acting and pretending to be a certain way, acting so much that it became routine, would you really know how to be anyone else?
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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby Uri » Tue May 15, 2012 3:26 pm

It seems that it’s all about these two nominated performances, when Albert Nobbs is being discussed, and hardly anything is being said about the film itself. Ok – Close’s approach is interesting, I had no problem accepting her as being accepted by others as a male. But it’s a very static performance, it doesn’t really go anywhere, and it’s not only about the character being stuck. And McTeer is indeed very fine.

What I found to be quite intriguing, and ultimately disappointing, about AN was a kind of a gap between the correct, rather sedated, British tv drama feel it has about it and the thematic undercurrents in the material I kind of felt the film makers were not fully aware of. Because let’s face it, this is basically a penetration-phobic, post feminist corrective fantasy for rape victims with the most unreasonable happy ending coda. Here we have this smoothly operated matriarchal enclosed universe- headed by a female, populated mostly by females, in which the only men are a very old, shaky one, a poof, a woman pretending to be one and an impotent (the very alcoholic doctor who pleasure his lover orally). Even the outsider hired to paint is not threatening this order as it turns out. But once into this safe place a young, virile, sexually active male enters – hell breaks loose. And at the end, in order to get back to normality, this man must be gone, but not before he does the only thing males are good for, and that is being sperm donors. It’s a very simplistic, rather one sided take – even the patrons of this little hotel are strictly divided gender vise – the men are compassionless pigs, the women are kinder – and braver (the first clients to come back after the plaque were these old lady and her spinster daughter, the little boy is disturbingly studying Albert while his sister seems to accept him, their father has no empathy for anyone when they leave while his wife caringly looks back, not to mention Jonathan Rhys Meyers who’s in it just for his ability to look utterly decadent). But with all this potentially disturbing, subversive, objectionable, even kinky stuff, what we got was this very polite, respectful, star showcase wannabe. I didn’t suffer watching it, but I hardly admired it too.

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Tue May 15, 2012 2:50 pm

Critics and audiences in general were down on Close's performance, mostly as I alluded to below, because they were reviewing her makeup rather than her performance. The film itself only rated a 55 on Rotten Tomatoes and a 57 on MetaCritic. If you read the user reivews at IMDb., they're pretty bad as well even though the film is rated a respectable 6.5 overall.

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Tue May 15, 2012 1:35 pm

OscarGuy wrote: Italiano, your side of the pond isn't the only side that admired Close's performance. I did and I've read others who have.



Good then. The Academy obviously did. But I felt - mistakenly, it seems - that her performance had left American critics quite cold.

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Tue May 15, 2012 1:17 pm

Did you see The Woman in Black? McTeer is undeniably the best part of that movie.

And, Italiano, your side of the pond isn't the only side that admired Close's performance. I did and I've read others who have.
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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby Sabin » Tue May 15, 2012 11:43 am

Janet McTeer isn't just the best of her fellow nominees, but she gives one of the best nominated performances of the year, period.
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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Tue May 15, 2012 3:10 am

Yes, well, I think that the movie is far from perfect, but I agree that the acting in it - despite the fact that Close's performance was generally dismissed by American critics - is very, very good. Now that I've seen all the acting nominees, I can say that for sure Janet McTeer was the best in her category - by far. As for Glenn Close, I found her approach to the role extremely interesting - it may have disappointed those who were hoping for another Cruella de Vil maybe, but it's the kind of original, unsettling performance one should expect from a great actress who, while not young anymore, still has the energy to try new things, to risk. Her little Albert, right out of a Magritte painting, was unsurprisingly more appreciated on this side of the Atlantic.

Unfortunately the movie doesn't allow her character to fully develop, and Meryl Streep - whose movie was probably worse - is so technically powerful that I'd still go with her; but Close - in an admittedly not very good year - would be my second choice from the actual nominees. (In a perfect world, of course, actresses from Iran, France, China, Spain, etc would be nominated and it would be a completely different story).

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Mon May 14, 2012 8:05 pm

The only thing wrong with this film, now out on DVD, is the almost non-existent theatrical distribution it was given in the U.S. It's a character study done right. It doesn't rely on the knowledge we bring to weak tea films about Margaret Thatcher or Marilyn Monroe. It gives us something we haven't seen before.

Most of the reviews regarding Glenn Close were not about her acting, they were about her makeup. What happened to a little good old-fashioned suspension of disbelief?

The film takes place in repressed turn-of-the-twentieth century Dublin, not some hip, contemporary metropolis. Anyone seeing the "strange little man" that Albert Nobbs appeared to be in the time period the film takes place in would have thought he was just that, a strange little man, not a woman disguising herself as a man. In that context, Close delivers a great, subtle performance as a person whose dreams appear from the outset impossible to come true. He/she doesn't have the inner and outward strength of Janet McTeer's more outgoing character. McTeer doesn't blow Close off the screen, she compliments her, and the supporting cast, handpicked by Close, delivers strong characterizations worthy of half a season of Downton Abbey.

Close's first Oscar nomination in 24 years was not only earned, it was good enough to have won over the competition, as was McTeer's in support.

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:34 am

It seems as though the rap on Albert Nobbs at least Stateside has been relatively uniform in regards to the intentions surrounding this film, the nature of Glenn Close's performance, and that Janet McTeer steals the show. What should be said about Glenn Close that hasn't been yet is how fantastic she comes alive when she is being challenged by the very presence of Janet McTeer. It must be said about her performance elsewhere that I quite simply didn't buy that she could fool all those who she did. Her voice is unconvincing and her mannequin manner forced to the point of absurdity, which is the point. This is The World According to Nobbs through and through, with Close's Albert not terribly unlike Chance the Gardener. But when Janet McTeer storms in from another film her very core is shaken up and it becomes a rather liberating comedy of reactions and Glenn Close comes to life.

Throughout the rest of the film, Glenn Close's performance works mainly as the film lingers on her blank face and the score swells and we are to intuit what she is processing. These moments are rather lovely and effective. Those where she speaks just don't work, least of all to herself, and it's a bit sad because this is an utterly fascinating project that has been realized in a rather literal-minded fashion. I'm inclined to blame Rodrigo Garcia more than Glenn Close. This is a project so close to her heart that you can't blame her. It's the job of the director to say "Stop. Um. Maybe we need to try something slightly different. Slightly." She will be nominated if only because of her brave scene with Janet McTeer where she tells Her Story, where he lets her guard down and allows herself to be known. The big problem with Glenn Close's performance is that this scene should be an aberration, where she lets her guard truly down. It's not as if Albert's guard is up terribly much more throughout the film. She is quaking constantly on the verge of revelation! It should be said that if I don't find Glenn Close's performance consistent or entirely successful, the character is never less than fascinating and thus the film is of interest. But individual scenes seem to exist devoid of greater scheme. When Albert has affections for Mia Wasikowska's torn young maiden, it seems out of the blue. Really, it all feels like television and not a filmic narrative, and for that (as well as Glenn Close's performance) I blame Rodrigo Garcia.

Also: Janet McTeer has an insane rack.
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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby flipp525 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:59 pm

From the Village Voice:

"The result of [Close's] passion project? Getting to look like Bruce Jenner in a bowler and high starched collar"
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."

-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:48 am

mayukh wrote: But, here, she seems to have all the life sucked out of her.


But then the character she plays is supposed not to have a life, especially in the first part of the movie. It's a choice, this approach to the role, which may not be the most effective but which I found extremely interesting. Albert Nobbs, after all, is the kind of person one wouldn't notice even in an empty room, a person who denies himself/herself not only emotions but even a life, so I can understand Close's almost Brechtian, kabuki-like acting. (I admit that in the second half of the movie, as she is supposed to fall in love, this works a bit less). Reading some American reviews, it seems like they'd want another Alex, another Marquise de Merteuil, and this simply isn't the movie for that.

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby Reza » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:24 pm

Janet McTeer is the one who shines in this film. Good that Close is back but I agree it would be wrong to nominate her at the expense of Olsen or even Theron.

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Re: Albert Nobbs reviews

Postby mayukh » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:12 pm

Well, I think the world of Glenn Close, but it's a shame to see her being consistently recognized for her "effort" and a convenience of narrative at the expense of truly exploratory work from actresses like Olsen and Dunst. I've heard many criticize Close for being distant but I could never really subscribe to that – if anything, I always thought she overcame by the sheer force and strength of her presence. But, here, she seems to have all the life sucked out of her, and I don't think she ever achieves a sense of emotional clarity that could make her character interesting or affecting.


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