Albert Nobbs underdeveloped

Cross-dressing historical drama fails to get under the skin

It’s interesting to look at sexuality and sexual identity in a time and place---Ireland in the 1800s--- when there was only one norm. Albert Nobbs tackles the subject, but too superficially. Albert (Glenn Close), a woman who lives life as a man, works in a swanky hotel, squirreling money away to eventually buy a shop. Nobbs encounters another woman-in-drag, Hubert (Janet McTeer), and wants to model her life after Hubert, who is slightly more butch and has even taken a wife. There’s one, brief glimpse into Nobbs’ past, but it doesn’t fully explain the whole ruse, nor do we understand much of Nobbs’ sexuality. If anything, Nobbs seems devoid of it, even when trying to court fellow servant, Helen (Mia Wasikowska). Though director Rodrigo Gracia could have done this intentionally, the result is an underdeveloped protagonist, and a story you can’t quite get into.

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