Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Mary F. Pols,
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.
It's a small, gentle film with wistful sadness peeking around its corners, and when it's over you may feel as if you want a little more, as if we're not much closer to understanding Albert than we were at the beginning.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Characters as out of touch and desperate as Albert Nobbs awaken an instinctive doubt and distrust in an audience.
New York Times:
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.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
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.
Wall Street Journal:
As an experiment in Academy Award psychology, "Albert Nobbs" is fascinating. As drama? It is, forgive us, a drag.
The problem with Albert Nobbs though is that it's hard to believe that the people around the heroine haven't figured her out yet. Even with prosthetics, Close isn't all that convincing as a man.
[Close gives] an intriguing performance, technically flawless, if by necessity distant.
There's an ache of regret that sets "Albert Nobbs'' apart. Everyone here yearns for what they can't get.
J. R. Jones,
Rodrigo Garcia [is] known for his female ensemble dramas but demonstrates no particular affinity for this material.
"Albert Nobbs" is a film of great texture and tenderness, and the actors are a joy to behold.
I don't know why [Close is] keen to play such a recessive wisp of a man, but I admire how committed she is to her bowler hat.
Notable performances by Glenn Close and Janet McTeer mark this carefully made but muted story of women passing as men in 19th-century Dublin.
Los Angeles Times:
Nobbs is such a spectral presence that infusing any measure of life into this person is an insurmountable challenge.
[A] funny, sorrowful, richly layered and tremendously moving film.
What you feel, watching Close, is not that you are watching gender being bent into new, absorbing shapes but that you might as well have stayed home and leafed through a book on Magritte.
There is comedy in it. But mostly there's just a kind of soft, quiet sadness - about lives unlived, about chances lost, about loves forever unexpressed.
McTeer's sly, wise rendering of Hubert, a person every bit as battered by life as Albert has been, but with enough residual core and joie de vivre to reinvent himself on his own terms, picks out the meaning of Albert Nobbs.
New York Post:
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.
New York Observer:
The point is to show the misery of a underprivileged woman ahead of her time, but so much dedication for such a small payoff makes you wonder why.
All of the red meat is just beneath the surface, occasionally poking through but mostly remaining buried.
This is such a brave performance by Glenn Close, who in making Albert so real, makes the character as pathetic and unlikable as she must have been in life.
As directed with grit and grace by Rodrigo Garcia, this quietly devastating film goes bone-deep.
A movie that, like its title character, never quite dares to let itself discover what it really wants to be.
Globe and Mail:
The film surrounding the performance is not always as strong, but the centre holds, and magnificently so.
The grim, grey-hued result is about as far from contemporary drag chic as it's possible to get - appropriate for the subject matter, perhaps, but hardly the stuff of satisfying cinema.
Albert is at the heart of it all and we see her through her own prism of vulnerability, resulting in a very human story about the search for love, acceptance and understanding of the self.
Though this period drama is meant to be thought-provoking and prompt intriguing queries about gender, it leaves too many questions unanswered.
It's a career-crowning role for Glenn Close. Too bad the film is such a drag.
The result of [Close's] passion project? Getting to look like Bruce Jenner in a bowler and high starched collar.
[It] sneaks up on the audience with the quiet discretion of the enigmatic protagonist at its center. And, like him, it contains multitudes beneath its prim surface.