Albert Nobbs and U.S. Stereotypes

Let’s just be honest here; Albert Nobbs was a steaming pile of sludge. It had an interesting enough premise, but it was just slopped together to achieve a faux impression of an in-depth film. Epic fail.


The plot is set in 19th century Ireland and involves a “woman passing as a man” who works as a waiter. Each evening he hides away his meager tips and wages and carefully records his growing fortune. All the while he fantasizes about the day he’ll take a wife and purchase a little tobacco shop. He stands around - a lot. He meets another “woman passing as a man” named Mr.Page and then spends the rest of the movie trying to court a much younger pregnant maid by buying her trinkets, laying in bed, and standing around some more. Eventually he bops his head on a wall, lays down in bed - again - and appears to be more pale. I think that meant he was dead. But it wasn’t all that different from when he was alive - so I’m not really sure.

The problem is that the whole story was just a pile of nonsensical clichés plus boring dialogue and two dimensional (almost one dimensional) characters. In the end, what could have been a cool and moving flick turned out to be tedious and dull replay of uninformed trans and lesbian stereotypes.

The worst part? Instead of maybe casting someone who was androgynous or maybe queer or, god forbid, actually trans to play the part - they cast a famous actress, slathered her in really creepy make-up, and had her stand around like an awkward shiny wax statue. It didn't work.

I literally felt nothing the entire film. The only thing that moved were my bowels - which fortunately allowed me to escape for a few minutes midway through it. The character was just so empty and creepy. I couldn’t make myself care if I tried.

And really, I tried. I paid $8.60 for this.

Well, I lie. I didn’t feel anything until Albert Nobbs explained why he had become Albert Nobbs. He had been abandoned as a child and raped by a group of men. Afterwards, he saw a job opening for a waiter, found a suit, and got the job. And he’s just been Albert Nobbs ever since! Oh, and now he is attracted to women, too. Why, we all know there aren’t really queer or trans people - just cisgender women who have horribly traumatic negative experiences with men.

Seriously, I’m so tired of seeing movies where someone becomes a lesbian or decides to spend their entire life living 24/7 as a dude because they were victims of childhood trauma - usually rape.

What’s with the United States and this idiotic stereotype? Just a few weeks ago I went out to see the U.S. remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

In the Swedish version, the main character, Lisbeth Salandar, wakes up at some point with a girl in her bed. We, the audience, have no idea if this is a one-night-stand, a long-term girlfriend, or what. What we do know is that she sleeps with chicks. She’s bad ass, independent, dominates Mikael Blomkvist, and is all hawt sexually fluid. Then, later in the film, gets raped.

In the U.S. version, different story. There’s absolutely no indication throughout the film that she’s attracted to women - until after she gets raped. Immediately afterwards she goes to a club, finds a girl, and has a one-night-stand with her. The next morning Mikael shows up with food and tells her to get rid of “the girl”, which she does. When Mikael touches her, she flinches and warns him not to touch her. Since, she, of course, now fears men and therefore, sleeps with women. Why U.S.? Whhhyyy???

Noomi Rapace - Swedish Lisbeth. Hawt. Independent. Bad a$$.

Rooney Mara - U.S. Lisbeth. Is it crack, the onset of female alopecia, or heroine? I haven’t quite pegged it.

Oh, and here’s Janet McTeer playing Mr.Page in Albert Nobbs. 

Aside from the barely redeeming factor of Mr.Page and his wife (although, I was probably just bored and desperate), Albert Nobbs is a an obnoxious mass of offensive stereotypes that isn’t memorable enough to even be forgettable.


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