Loneliness and alienation
February 03, 2012By Richard Jones
A look at Albert Nobbs (M)...
IN late 19th-century Dublin, a woman passes herself off as a man to gain employment as a butler in an exclusive hotel.
The Irish capital is divided by class and economic circumstances so holding onto a job, after getting one initially, is no easy thing.
The suggestion from director Rodrigo Garcia is that Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) would not have survived in desperate times without adopting the disguise.
We meet a second woman disguised as a man – the laundry painter Hubert (Janet McTeer) – who ends up sharing the butler's room. Hubert becomes Albert's friend.
But the film is more about loneliness and alienation, than about desire.
Albert and his fellow workers are just one mistake away from getting fired and ending up in the poor house.
There was no CentreLink in the 1890s.
The spiteful hotel manager (Pauline Collins) rules her domain with an iron fist and she constantly threatens her staff with the poor house.
The haunted Albert develops a crush on maid Helen (Mia Wasikowska, Jane Eyre). Will the courtship of Helen draw the manager's ire and see Albert tossed out of secure employment?
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