Albert Nobbs
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRodrigo García
Screenplay byGlenn Close
John Banville
Gabriella Prekop
Story byIstván Szabó
Based onThe Singular Life of Albert Nobbs
by George Moore
Produced byGlenn Close
Bonnie Curtis
Julie Lynn
John Goff[1]
CinematographyMichael McDonough
Edited bySteven Weisberg
Music byBrian Byrne
Mockingbird Pictures
Trillium Productions
Parallel Film Productions
Morrison Films
WestEnd Films
Chrysalis Films
Allen & Associates
Irish Film Board
Distributed byEntertainment One
Release date
  • 2 September 2011 (2011-09-02) (Telluride)
Running time
113 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget€6 million[2] ($7.5 million approx.)
Box office$8.5 million[3]

Albert Nobbs is a 2011 period drama film directed by Rodrigo García and starring Glenn Close. The screenplay, by Close, John Banville and Gabriella Prekop, is based on the 1927 novella Albert Nobbs by George Moore.

The film received mixed reviews, but the performances of 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 entitled 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]


An illustration of Morrison's Hotel, Dublin from 1821.

Albert Nobbs is a butler at the Morrison Hotel in late-19th-century Dublin, Ireland; his boss is Mrs. Baker. Although born female, Albert has spent the last 30 years living as a man. He has also been secretly saving money to buy a tobacconist shop to gain some measure of freedom and independence.

Recently unemployed Joe Mackins arrives at the hotel and cons his way into a boilerman job. He and a maid there, Helen Dawes, become lovers. Hubert Page, tasked with painting at the hotel, discovers Albert's secret. He reveals to Albert that he is keeping the same secret about himself, living as a man after escaping an abusive husband.

Albert visits Hubert at his home and meets Cathleen, Hubert's wife. Albert tells Hubert the story of his life: born illegitimate and then abandoned, Albert was adopted by a Mrs. Nobbs and educated in a convent before being expelled after his mother died. One night, aged 14 and still living as a girl, Albert was brutally gang-raped and beaten by a group of men. After hearing there was a need for waiters, Albert bought a suit, was interviewed and hired, and began his life with a male identity.

Believing Helen may be the ideal wife to run a shop with, Albert asks her out on a date. She refuses, but Joe, believing that Albert will give Helen money that could help the pair emigrate to America, encourages her to lead Albert on. She agrees to this approach, allowing Albert to buy her gifts. Helen is uncomfortable with Albert and the arrangement that Joe has persuaded her to make. Albert also tells Helen about his plan to buy a shop.

Helen eventually discovers she is pregnant with Joe's child. Joe is terrified, fearing he will become like his abusive father. Meanwhile, Albert goes to Hubert's home one day and learns that Cathleen has died, leaving Hubert devastated. Albert and Hubert put on dresses made by Cathleen. Though both at first are extremely uncomfortable, they eventually spend a fun day together dressed as women. A stumble and fall by Albert on the beach brings them back to reality. The pair 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. She refuses, saying Albert does not love her, though Albert voices a fear that Joe will leave by himself for America and not take her and the child. Later that evening, Joe and Helen get into a loud fight after Joe reveals he is indeed going to America alone. Albert attacks Joe when he gets physical with Helen, and Joe throws Albert against a wall, giving him a head injury. Albert retires to bed, forgotten in the commotion, bleeding from one ear. Helen angrily tells Joe she no longer wants to be with him anyway, and he leaves. Helen finds Albert dead in his bed the next morning.

Helen eventually gives birth to a son, Albert Joseph. It's implied Mrs. Baker found Albert's savings, and hires Hubert again to make improvements to the hotel. When Helen sees Hubert, she breaks down and reveals she earns nothing working for Mrs. Baker, but if she objects she will be separated from her son and thrown out into the street. Hubert looks knowingly at her and says, "We can't let that happen, can we?"



Close in Paris at the film's French premiere in 2012

Close first played the titular character in a 1982 stage production and spent 15 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 through.[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]


See also: Albert Nobbs (soundtrack)


The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 56%, based on 158 reviews, with an average rating of 6.01/10. The site's consensus reads, "Albert Nobbs tells a worthy story with an outstanding performance at its core, even if the end result is often somewhat less than the sum of its admirable parts".[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]


Glenn Close's and Janet McTeer's performances garnered critical acclaim and nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, respectively.
Award Category Recipient Result
84th Academy Awards Best Actress Glenn Close Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Janet McTeer Nominated
Best Makeup Martial Corneville
Lynn Johnston
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 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Glenn Close Nominated
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, 13 January 2012, Accessed 12-31-12
  2. ^ "'Albert Nobbs' Nabs Irish & International Actors". Irish Film and Television Network. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Albert Nobbs (2011) - Financial Information". The Numbers. 11 March 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  4. ^ a b McGreevy, Ronan (10 December 2010). "Close gathers stars in Dublin as celluloid dream to come true". Irish Times. Archived from the original on 23 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d DeBruge, Peter (3 September 2011). "Variety Reviews - Albert Nobbs". Retrieved 3 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Close: Filming in Dublin a dream". Press Association. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  7. ^ a b Macnab, Geoffrey (27 January 2011). "Albert Nobbs". Screen Daily. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson Join Albert Nobbs". 6 December 2010. Archived from the original on 10 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  9. ^ Fleming, Mike (26 July 2011). "2011 Toronto Film Festival: Brad Pitt's 'Moneyball,' Madonna's 'W.E.', George Clooney's 'The Ides Of March' Make Cut". Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  10. ^ Dang, Simon (26 July 2011). "New Photos: Glenn Close, Aaron Johnson & Mia Wasikowska In 'Albert Nobbs'". indieWire. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  11. ^ "Albert Nobbs". Rotten Tomatoes.
  12. ^ "Albert Nobbs". Metacritic.
  13. ^ Weinstein, Joshua L. (29 January 2012). "Indie Box Office: Oscar-Nominated 'Albert Nobbs' Opens Strong to Nearly $773K". The Wrap. Reuters.