Critic Reviews



Based on 42 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
It's no less of an accomplished performance than Hilary Swank's similar turn in "Boys Don't Cry" or newcomer Zoé Herán's delicate achievement as the lead in "Tomboy." Unfortunately, Albert Nobbs traps Close's sizable talent in a simplistic drama--not unlike Nobbs herself who winds up trapped in a restrictive period.
Ms. McTeer's sly, exuberant performance is a pure delight, and the counterpoint between her physical expressiveness and Ms. Close's tightly coiled reserve is a marvel to behold. The rest of the film is a bit too decorous and tidy to count as a major revelation, but it dispenses satisfying doses of humor, pathos and surprise.
As Mr. Albert Nobbs, Close wears a discreetly waved cap of cropped ginger hair and the bright, blank expression of a small animal caught mid-nibble.
Unfortunately, Albert is so good at being unobtrusive, he nearly disappears from his own story, making it hard for us to get invested in it.
The film never gets to the heart of Nobbs - a woman who lives as a man. She comes across as more of a sad, clownish figure than a flesh-and-blood human, playing her emotions so close to the vest that it's hard to care about this stoic character.
Say this for Albert Nobbs: It's not some run-of-the-mill "life lived in service" drama.
The unintentional hilarity of the whole enterprise - especially when Albert attempts to romance one of the hotel's naive employees (Wasikowska) - at least keeps you engaged, as does the scene-by-scene suspense over which pitiably wide-eyed expression Close will choose to use next. Hopefully, she's practicing her gracious-loser face for awards season.
Close and McTeer, an evenly matched odd-couple pairing, keep it real. They do the heavy lifting, and are utterly enchanting, whether in bonnets or boots.
Village Voice
Close's prosthetic makeup renders her face too immobile, a marked contrast with her unfixed accent; both highlight the pitfalls of a star's idée fixe. It's a shame, because the material - based on a novella by George Moore published in the 1927 collection Celibate Lives - deserves better.
Slant Magazine
Perhaps thrown by the challenge of having to direct women as men and not just as themselves, director Rodrigo Garcia turns in what may be his poorest effort to date, opting for a nearly airless tone, presenting a look that's sadly un-cinematic, and presiding over a collection of performers that seem to be operating on very different planes, and with accents of varying thicknesses.

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