Glenn Close has been, from time to time, one of the most brilliant actresses of all time. She has over the course of her career, chosen films that were less than flattering to her talent.


Her greatness seemed certain after her big screen debut in "The World According to Garp" when she played Garp's feminist mother. It continued to blossom in "The Big Chill" when she played Sarah, Kevin Klein's wife. Then there was "The Natural", Fatal Attraction", "The Paper", "Dangerous Liaisons", "Reversal of Fortune", etc.


A terrific body of work that is peppered with crap like "Mars Attacks", "Immediate Family", "Meeting Venus", several TV films and now "Albert Nobbs."

The bad thing about "Albert Nobbs" is that she played the role on stage 30 years ago and fought hard and long to bring it to the screen. In fact she is also the screenwriter and producer!


She plays the titular character Albert Nobbs, whom we quickly learn was gang raped at a young age and, though not gay, swore never to be dependent on men. So she spends the next 30 years of her life living as Albert in an 19th century Dublin hotel. She is a meticulous butler who wisely says few words to the guests lest the might notice her high pitched voice.


This plan works quite well, apparently petite men with high cheekbones and girlish voices were the norm back then or maybe all the guests were just too stupid to notice... but she gets away with her charade.


That is until she encounters Hubert Page (Janet McTeer) who just happens to also be perpetrating a man. Hubert actually has a dressmaker wife named Catherine (Bronagh Gallagher) and is not doubt gay. She is also more comfortable in her mannish skin that Albert. Albert always looks paranoid with expressive yet terrified eyes constantly flitting about.

Nevertheless Hubert inspires Albert to shoot for opening a tobacco shop and falls for one of the hotels housemaids Helen (Mia Wasikowska) who assumes that Albert is some quirky little rich guy hot for some hot tail.


Helen is not really into Albert, more into Albert's money. And that's when Albert's charade starts to fall apart.


Though the film gets in under 2 hours, it drones on and on to the unfortunate ending that will leave you quite annoyed. This is a dreadfully slow film that is absolutely nothing new.


Yes, in 1982 "Victor Victoria" raised many an eyebrow with Julie Andrews more effectively passing as a man. That coincided with Dustin Hoffman's role as "Tootsie" which saw him impersonating a woman. 1999 saw Philip Seymour Hoffman play the drag queen opposite Robert DeNrio's homophobic role in "Flawless". So this is old hat.


Although Close does the best she can with the role, she really isn't even convincing as a man. Add to that the shock value this film might have had 30 years ago has become passe now.


"Albert Nobbs", though not an awful film just doesn't cut it now. Glenn Close isn't even the best talent as Janet McTeer pulls her part more effectively, though it takes awhile to get to her part. Oh how this thing drags. You will be monitoring your watch at the 25 minute mark!   -- GEOFF BURTON