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Albert Nobbs has disguised herself as a man while working as a butler in a posh 19th-century Dublin hotel. However, she reconsiders her charade when a handsome painter arrives on the scene. From that plot alone, it sounds a lot like Oscar-bait doesn't it? The film is told from the perspective of Albert Nobbs. After receiving advice from the painter, Nobbs finally decides to act on her feelings for her co-worker, Helen. This is supposed to be a character-driven feature that displays the thoughts, actions, and how they affect and ultimately change how they behave. Well, this is at least how it's supposed to work in films such as these. To be blunt, it feels as though the film doesn't go anywhere. There's a lot of drama between the characters and people double-crossing others, although it feels like a soap opera with a bigger budget. Character-driven plots are supposed to make us like and support the protagonist, but I didn't find myself backing even one character. The characters that are even slightly enjoyable are in such small supporting roles that they don't receive enough screen time to even care too much about. Albert Nobbs is predictable and the ending is dumb. The dialogue isn't poorly written, but the characters are such an issue and the plot isn't interesting enough to hold the audience's attention.
After trashing the screenplay, you may be wondering why I gave this 1.5 stars. Well, one of the reasons is because of the acting. Oscar-bait must always have at least one star performer on screen. Glenn Close is Albert Nobbs and does a great job in the character. Close is very convincing in the role, it's just a shame that the character herself isn't very interesting. While she did a great job, I still don't believe that it warrants an Academy Award nomination. Mia Wasikowska continues to be underrated as she plays Helen. I've enjoyed her work and she rarely ever seems to get noticed by many people. She most certainly deserves more recognition. These are the two standout roles of Albert Nobbs, although I still don't believe that any Oscar-nominations were warranted in the acting department.
Visually, the film comes as plain as you'd expect it to. However, it also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Achievement in Makeup. Honestly, Glenn Close is one of the most terrifying people I've ever seen under make-up. Despite the fact that young children may have nightmares from seeing Close in this makeup, it's ultimately successful for the character. Jokes, yet honesty, aside, you get exactly as you predict from Albert Nobbs. The visuals are rather plain and the audio design is mediocre. The dialogue is a bit soft at times, making it difficult to make out some dialogue. To compensate, you should turn it up a little louder than you're used to in order to ensure you can hear the dialogue. The surround channels are extremely reserved and it often feels like a stereo track.
Some of you may believe that I'm being a bit harsh, but after this movie ended, I couldn't help but feel angry. Films such as these shouldn't be rewarded Academy Award nominations when their sole intention was to win awards. The story is boring and doesn't ever really go anywhere and the characters are unlikable. When a character-driven drama has neither, that's a horrible thing. Visuals don't matter too much for these movies, although you won't find anything more or less than you're expecting in that department. Even after having my thoughts of not wanting to see this after seeing the trailers, I still gave it a fair shot to surprise me. However, I will never understand the praise some people gave this flick and most certainly don't comprehend how the Academy appreciates films such as these. Albert Nobbs is as boring as they come. Skip it.