Albert Nobbs
Albert Nobbs poster
Directed by Rodrigo García
Produced by Glenn Close
Bonnie Curtis
John Goff

Glenn Close
Mia Wasikowska
Aaron Johnson
Janet McTeer
Pauline Collins
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Brendan Gleeson
Maria Doyle Kennedy

Music by Brian Byrne
Cinematography Michael McDonough
Editing by Steven Weisberg
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release September 2, 2011
Running time 113 minutes
Country Ireland
Language English
Budget $7.5m approx
Gross revenue $5,410,553 (worldwide)

Albert Nobbs is a 2011 drama film directed by Rodrigo García and starring Glenn Close. The screenplay is based on a novella by Irish novelist 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 theatre play in which Close starred.


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.

Albert's steadfast focus on this is shaken by the sudden arrival of Hubert Page (Janet McTeer), a house painter hired by Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins), the hotel owner. Albert is shocked that Hubert is to room with him while he works at the hotel. On their first night, Hubert discovers Albert's secret, but he promises never to reveal it, much to Albert's relief. The next day, Hubert confesses he is also a woman. Hubert leaves soon after, but not before telling Albert that he has a wife named Cathleen, a dressmaker.

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.

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 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.


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

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. Filming commenced on 13 December on location in Dublin and Wicklow. 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.


  • Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs
  • Mia Wasikowska as Helen Dawes
  • Aaron Johnson as Joe Mackins
  • Janet McTeer as Hubert Page
  • Pauline Collins as Mrs. Baker
  • Brenda Fricker as Polly
  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Viscount Yarrell
  • Brendan Gleeson as Dr. Holloran
  • Maria Doyle Kennedy as Mary
  • Mark Williams as Seán
  • Serena Brabazon as Mrs. Moore
  • Michael McElhatton as Mr. Moore
  • Kenneth Collard as Mr. Pigot
  • Bronagh Gallagher as Cathleen Page
  • Antonia Campbell-Hughes as Emmy

External links

Glenn Close films

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