Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 42
  2. Negative: 3 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jan 25, 2012
    75
    Close never steps wrong, never breaks reality. My heart went out to Albert Nobbs, the depth of whose fears are unimaginable. But it is Janet McTeer who brings the film such happiness and life as it has, because the tragedy of Albert Nobbs is that there can be no happiness in her life. The conditions she has chosen make it impossible.
  2. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 29, 2011
    63
    If you take away Albert Nobbs' twist, all that's left is a project that would have been at home on Masterpiece Theater during its heyday.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 29, 2011
    75
    As directed with grit and grace by Rodrigo García, this quietly devastating film goes bone-deep.
  4. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jan 26, 2012
    50
    Though the movie drips and aches with good intentions, I do wonder how lesbians may feel about seeing lesbianism presented as a mere traumatized distortion of female heterosexuality.
  5. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jan 4, 2012
    67
    Close's passion for the character she plays - 
a role, she has explained in interviews, that has absorbed her since she first played Nobbs on stage 30 years ago - contains its own intrigue.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jan 26, 2012
    75
    As the title character in Albert Nobbs, Glenn Close skulks through Edwardian-era Dublin like a eunuch on a stealth mission.
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 21, 2011
    63
    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.
  8. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 26, 2012
    75
    Albert Nobbs is a quiet, minor-key work. The period finery is Masterpiece Classics-y, the parade of upper-crust and lower-tier eccentrics predictable. But Close's performance as this poor, wounded fellow resonates with depth and poignancy.
  9. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Jan 25, 2012
    50
    Albert Nobbs is the furthest thing from a comedy, although as a character study of cultural mores and stations and the lengths human beings will go to to circumvent them, it's fascinating stuff.
  10. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Jan 26, 2012
    50
    Though Istvan Szabo (Being Julia) was slated to direct at one point, the assignment ultimately went to Rodrigo Garcia, who's known for his female ensemble dramas (Nine Lives, Mother and Child) but demonstrates no particular affinity for this material.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 27, 2012
    75
    The sadness and almost Chaplinesque pathos that ensues is well wrought and Close, although she is so recessive that at times she seems to fade into the ether, is quite touching.
  12. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jan 26, 2012
    88
    Most movies about people passing themselves off as the opposite sex can't sustain the illusion, but "Nobbs" does.
  13. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 20, 2011
    70
    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.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 26, 2012
    63
    The play itself, some felt, was static. The charge I'm afraid will stick to the film version as well. But the acting is considerable compensation.
  15. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 27, 2012
    60
    Rodrigo Garcia's film only intermittently surmounts the limitations of the central character's parched emotional existence and restricted horizons, and the resolutions to some principal dramatic lines seem rather too easy.
  16. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Jan 26, 2012
    75
    The chief attraction of Albert Nobbs is the acting.
  17. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jan 4, 2012
    80
    García, previously the director of "Mother and Child," "Passengers" and numerous TV episodes (and the son of Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez), never feels entirely comfortable with the period or location, but for all its limitations Albert Nobbs has a puzzling undertow, and gets more involving the longer you stick with it.
  18. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 21, 2011
    40
    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.
  19. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jan 27, 2012
    75
    Like the man himself, Albert Nobbs is a sweet, sad, sensitive little film, a haunting reminder that each of us, on some level, is impersonating someone.
  20. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Dec 20, 2011
    50
    Say this for Albert Nobbs: It's not some run-of-the-mill "life lived in service" drama.
  21. 50
    The performance is extraordinary, literally: Close resembles no man I've ever seen, or woman either. She's the personification of fear - the fear of being seen through, seen for what she is.
  22. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jan 26, 2012
    63
    The double deception of suppressed personality and repressed sexuality could have been the basis for a rewarding character study, but after Albert meets a kindred spirit and dares to dream of a happy ending, her denial and naivete become too much to swallow.
  23. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jan 26, 2012
    60
    Close's performance is a study in repression -- too much so, really.
  24. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Jan 26, 2012
    75
    Albert Nobbs is not a movie about gender politics; it's about trusting in the fundamental goodness of others and accepting one's need for companionship, and the way in which Close slowly reveals Albert's closed-off heart is poignant and often surprisingly funny, though never in a mocking way.
  25. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Dec 20, 2011
    40
    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.
  26. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jan 30, 2012
    40
    Imagine a different film on a similar theme, with Hubert moved to center stage and García replaced by Pedro Almodóvar, for whom cross-dressers in a Catholic country would be meat and drink. Poor Albert could then retreat into the shadows, where he so evidently belongs, emerging only to pour the wine and clear away the feast.
  27. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 22, 2011
    40
    When the filmmakers move into Nobbs' isolation, though, the movie flags - a surprise given Garcia's excellent work on HBO's minimalist personality study "In Treatment," on which he wrote and directed extensively.
  28. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Dec 20, 2011
    75
    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.
  29. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 25, 2012
    50
    Close's performance is technically perfect and emotionally pinched, which is exactly what her role calls for, but it doesn't make a compelling movie.
  30. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jan 24, 2012
    50
    A middling attempt to peek through a lace curtain for a glimpse of the other Upstairs/Downstairs staff members only leads to too many distracting social functions that fail to relieve the film's otherwise solemn pacing.
  31. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Dec 20, 2011
    30
    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.
  32. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Jan 26, 2012
    70
    With its unpredictable sexual politics and quirky little hero/heroine Albert Nobbs has the edge of quinine, a peculiar taste that won't entice everyone but worked for me.
  33. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Dec 21, 2011
    65
    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.
  34. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Dec 30, 2011
    80
    I'm pretty sure that the terrific British actress Janet McTeer never meant to act Close out of every frame they share, but she surely does as Hubert, a cheerful bruiser who brings his own secrets to the party, as well as a monumentally fake broken nose, a kind heart and a practical gift for converting adversity to advantage.
  35. 60
    Repression is one thing, but discontent generally breeds self-knowledge and rich interior lives, two things that are eerily absent here. Regardless, the film features some really intriguing conflicts and solid performances throughout.
  36. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Jan 26, 2012
    30
    As an experiment in Academy Award psychology, Albert Nobbs is fascinating. As drama? It is, forgive us, a drag.
  37. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jan 27, 2012
    50
    Albert Nobbs is the rare double drag king bill you could plausibly take your grandmother to. It's genteel, well-crafted, mostly sexless and frequently dull - a movie that, like its title character, never quite dares to let itself discover what it really wants to be.
  38. Reviewed by: Matt Mueller
    Apr 16, 2012
    40
    Good performances, but it's difficult to give two hoots about Close's passion project when the story remains as pinched and hermetic as poor little Albert Nobbs himself.
  39. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    Feb 2, 2012
    75
    The film surrounding the performance is not always as strong, but the centre holds, and magnificently so.
  40. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Dec 22, 2011
    50
    It's a career-crowning role for Glenn Close. Too bad the film is such a drag.
  41. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Dec 20, 2011
    25
    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.
  42. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Dec 19, 2011
    63
    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.
User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 48 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 14
  2. Negative: 3 out of 14
  1. Jan 28, 2012
    9
    Albert Nobbs is the most heartbreaking and touching film I have seen in years. I disagree with much of what some critics are saying - I was never ever bored, found the drama tense and compelling, subtly building a sense of dread about what might be about to happen. The scene on the beach - Albert's one moment of true freedom, brought tears. Glenn Close is the master of this drama, not Janet McTeer, as some are saying. To me she simply added some comic relief, and was, at most, a cartoon. See it, you will love it. Full Review »
  2. Dec 7, 2012
    5
    Let me begin by saying I really enjoyed the film a lot. Glenn Close and Janet McTeer are fantastic as women living double lives as men; I'm very happy that they received Oscar nominations last year because they delivered two of the finest performances of 2011. Albert Nobbs does have some major issues however, but it's worth mentioning that it's hard to determine what could have made it better. The biggest problem I had with the film was that it was not as powerful or emotionally resonant as it could/should have been. I also didn't think Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson were that great which surprised me because they're rising stars. Overall though I think Albert Nobbs is worth the watch; the characters are touching and the lead performances are remarkable. Full Review »
  3. Sep 22, 2012
    7
    An otherwise indifferent film is made memorable with yet another career defining performance by Glenn Close. And even though the subject is interesting and the supporting cast also do an excellent job, the film never really becomes truly great. Full Review »