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Albert Nobbs

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Title: Albert Nobbs  
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Albert Nobbs

Albert Nobbs
Film poster
Directed by Rodrigo García
Produced by Glenn Close
Bonnie Curtis
John Goff[1]
Screenplay by Glenn Close
John Banville
Gabriella Prekop
Story by István Szabó
Based on The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs  
by George Moore


Music by Brian Byrne
Cinematography Michael McDonough
Edited by Steven Weisberg
Distributed by Lionsgate
Roadside Attractions (USA)
Entertainment One (UK)
Release dates
  • September 2, 2011 (2011-09-02) (Telluride)
Running time
113 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget 6,000,000[2] ($7.5m approx.)
Box office $5,634,828 (worldwide)[3]

Albert Nobbs is a 2011 George Moore.

The film received mixed reviews, but the performances by Glenn Close and Janet McTeer were praised; they were nominated for the Academy Award in the categories of Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. They also received Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. The film was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Makeup.

The novella had been earlier adapted as a play titled The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs in which Close starred Off-Broadway in 1982 and for which she won an Obie Award for Best Actress.[4]


Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) is a woman living as a man in order to find work in the harsh environment of 19th-century Ireland. After living as a male for thirty years, Albert, working as a hotel waiter, is known for his extreme dedication to his job, as well as for a very introverted personality. Albert has been secretly saving all his earnings to buy a tobacco shop to gain some measure of freedom and independence.

Meanwhile, recently unemployed Joe Mackins (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) arrives at the hotel to repair the boiler. Flirtatious maid Helen Dawes (Mia Wasikowska) is attracted to him, and they become lovers; Joe's controlling nature and alcoholism soon become apparent, however.

At the time, a Mr. Hubert Page (Janet McTeer), who was tasked with painting the hotel, discovers Albert's secret, only to reveal that he kept the very same secret about himself.

Albert visits Hubert at his home and meets Cathleen (Bronagh Gallagher). Albert tells Hubert the story of his life: born a bastard and abandoned by his parents, he is raised and educated in a convent before being kicked out after his mother, who had apparently been paying for Albert's care, dies. One night, when he was fourteen, he was brutally gang raped and beaten by a group of men. Immediately afterwards, after hearing there is a need for waiters, he buys a suit, masquerading as a boy, and is hired. He chooses to continue to work and eventually live as a man. He never reveals his birth name to Hubert—he thinks of himself solely as "Albert".

Believing Helen may be the ideal wife to run a shop with, Albert asks her to leave with him. Helen refuses, but Joe, believing that Albert will give Helen money that could help the pair emigrate to America, encourages Helen to lead him on. Helen agrees to be with Albert, who buys Helen expensive gifts to please her. Helen is uncomfortable with Albert and the arrangement that Joe forced her to make. Albert tells Helen he wants to buy a shop, though Helen only wants to leave Ireland for America.

A typhoid epidemic breaks out in Dublin, and when some staff fall ill, customers avoid the hotel, causing financial problems. Albert becomes infected but soon recovers, while Helen discovers she is pregnant with Joe's child. Joe is terrified, fearing he will become like his abusive father. Albert goes to Hubert's home and learns that Cathleen died, devastating Hubert. As a tribute to her, Albert and Hubert don dresses Cathleen made and take a stroll on the beach. Though both at first are extremely uncomfortable, they eventually enjoy spending the day together dressed as women. They take a walk along the beach where Albert, feeling free, runs in the sand. But a stumble and fall bring him back to reality and he and Hubert return to Hubert's, change back into their men's clothing, and go back to their lives as before.

Back at the hotel, Albert learns Helen is pregnant and offers to marry her. Helen refuses, sensing Albert does not love her, though Albert agrees with her fear that Joe will abandon her and the child and go to America alone. Later that evening, when Joe and Helen get into a loud fight, Albert intervenes. Albert physically attacks Joe when he attempts to hurt Helen in a fit of rage; Joe throws Albert against a wall, hitting Albert's head. Albert returns to his room, bleeding from one ear. He dies later that night, presumably as a result of his head injury.

Mrs. Baker discovers Albert's hidden money and uses it to revitalize the hotel. In the following months, Joe has gone to America and Helen has given birth to a son, Albert Joseph. Mrs. Baker makes further use of Albert's money by hiring Hubert to paint the entire hotel. Hubert sees Helen again, who breaks down and reveals that she will be separated from her son and thrown out into the street. Hubert tells her, "We can't let that happen, can we?", implying that he will look after her.


Glenn Close in Paris at the film's French premiere in February 2012.


Close first played the titular character in a 1982 stage production and spent fifteen years trying to turn it into a film.[4][6] The film almost went into production in the early 2000s, with director István Szabó, but the financing fell apart.[7] In addition to her starring role, Close is also a producer and co-writer with John Banville.[7]

Production was scheduled to begin in July 2010 but was delayed until December, when Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson replaced Amanda Seyfried and Orlando Bloom.[8] Filming commenced on 13 December on location in Dublin and Wicklow.[6] In July 2011, it was announced that Albert Nobbs would screen at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival in September and the first official photos from the film were released.[9][10]


The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 56%, based on 149 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10.[11] Metacritic gave the film a 57 out of 100, with mixed or average reviews based on reviews from 42 critics.[12]


In the United States, the film had a limited release in December 2011, and opened at 245 locations in January 2012.[13] The film grossed a worldwide total of $5,634,828.[3]


Award Category Recipient Result
84th Academy Awards Best Actress Glenn Close Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Janet McTeer Nominated
Best Makeup Martial Corneville
Lynn Johnson
Matthew W. Mungle
AARP's Movies for Grownups Awards Best Actress Glenn Close Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Actress in a Supporting Role Janet McTeer Nominated
Female Icon Award Glenn Close Won
Actress Defying Age and Ageism Glenn Close Nominated
Most Egregious Love Interest Age Difference Award Glenn Close (64), Mia Wasikowska (22) Won
1st AACTA International Awards Best Actress – International Glenn Close Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Makeup Lorraine Glynn
Lynn Johnson
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Film - Wide Release Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Glenn Close Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Janet McTeer Nominated
Best Original Song "Lay Your Head Down" by Brian Byrne and Glenn Close Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Female Janet McTeer Nominated
Irish Film & Television Academy Best Film Alan Moloney
Bonnie Curtis
Julie Lynn
Glenn Close
Best Script for Film John Banville
Glenn Close
Best International Actress Glenn Close Won
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film Brendan Gleeson Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film Brenda Fricker Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film Maria Doyle Kennedy Nominated
Best Make-up and Hair Lorraine Glynn
Lynn Johnson
Best Original Score Brian Byrne Won
Best Sound Brendan Deasy
Niall Brady
Michelle Cunniffe
Steve Fanagan
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Janet McTeer Runner-up
Online Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Janet McTeer Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Actress Glenn Close Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Glenn Close Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Supporting Role Janet McTeer Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay George Moore
Glenn Close
John Banville
The play by Gabriella Prekop
Best Original Song "Lay Your Head Down" by Brian Byrne and Glenn Close Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Glenn Close Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Janet McTeer Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Janet McTeer Won
Tokyo International Film Festival Best Actress Glenn Close Won
Tokyo Grand Prix Rodrigo García Nominated
Women Film Critics Circle Best Movie About Women Nominated
Best Female Images in a Movie Nominated
Courage in Acting - Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen Glenn Close Won
Women's Work: Best Ensemble Nominated
World Soundtrack Award for Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film Glenn Close, Brian Byrne and Sinéad O'Connor Won


  1. ^ Fort Worth real estate tycoon makes bet on big screen, Dallas Business Journal, January 13, 2012, Accessed 12-31-12
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External links

  • A Story-Teller's Holiday by George Moore, 1918. Chapters 45 through 53 contain the story later reprinted in Celibate Lives as "The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs".
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