Albert Nobbs

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Albert Nobbs Movie Poster Image
Well-acted drama about sexual politics won't grab teens.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie takes place in a time when there were few opportunities for single women, so the main character has lived her life as a man in order to work. She's brave and resourceful, but she has also sacrificed much to live this way. In a way, her lifestyle underlines the sexual intolerance of the times.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is brave in some ways; she has chosen a dangerous path to survive. But she also lives a lie and has sacrificed much of her own life to survive. Because of her station in life, she's often kind to others.


A character receives a fatal blow to the head during a violent fight, and blood is shown. Some general arguing and hitting. A character has a gruesome-looking black eye. Verbal stories of violence and rape, though nothing is shown. People get sick and die from typhoid fever.


Two women's breasts are shown. Oral sex is suggested. Couples are seen lying in bed and kissing. A girl is pregnant. Also partial male nudity, kissing, and innuendo.


"F--k" is used once, and its Irish equivalent, "fecking," is heard at least twice. Other words include "bloody hell," "oh my God" (as an exclamation), "bastard," and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character works at a waiter at a fancy hotel, where customers often drink with dinner or at parties. The house doctor drinks to excess and is shown to have a hangover. A young man takes a huge swig from an expensive bottle of whisky. Extras are seen smoking cigarettes, and the main character dreams of opening a tobacco shop (though she doesn't smoke).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Albert Nobbs is a drama about a 19th-century woman (Glenn Close) who's forced to dress as a man to keep a job. It's a sad story about sexual politics, and there's some violence, notably a fight in which a fatal blow is delivered. Viewers will also see a little blood and some dead bodies, due to an outbreak of typhoid fever. Sexuality is an issue; topless women are shown, and sex is suggested. Language is sparse but includes "f--k" and the Irish equivalent, "fecking." The characters work in a hotel where drinking is prevalent, especially at dinner or parties. One character is a humorously depicted drunk who wakes up to painful hangovers. It's unlikely that kids will want to see this despite Close's excellent performance, but if they're interested, some older teens might be ready for the content.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChuck Reid March 15, 2012

Pretty good.

This movie is cool.The music is catchy and the jokes are HILARIOUS!
Teen, 13 years old Written byrebo344 July 6, 2015
A tremendous performance from Glenn Close. Overall, a really good drama.
Teen, 13 years old Written bylittlemonster98 January 15, 2012

Not that bad.

Just some nudity...really boring so kids wouldnt enjoy it anyway......

What's the story?

Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) is a quiet little waiter in a fancy hotel in 19th-century Ireland. He's learned to stay in the background, and for good reason: He's really a woman. But when another woman masquerading as a man, Hubert Page (Janet McTeer), comes by the hotel to do some repairs, "Albert" is fascinated. She becomes intrigued by the idea of a richer life and starts formulating a plan to use her life savings to open a tobacco shop. Her plans also include marrying the pretty young Helen Dawes (Mia Wasikowska). But unfortunately, Helen has a secret boyfriend who's intent on milking Albert for all he's worth.

Is it any good?

Close's performance is quite touching, as is McTeer's. In the 1980s, Close was nominated for five Oscars (The Natural, Fatal Attraction, etc.) but never won. But with ALBERT NOBBS, she has cooked up a formula irresistible to Academy voters: She's acting in drag as a man and also performing with an Irish accent. But whether or not you think the role is calculated to be awards bait, Close is a skilled actress.

That said, the movie uses some tired plot devices to give Albert something to do, and it relies on its characters being terribly naïve while the audience is two jumps ahead of them. But when Close simply has something to think about or react to, she's magnetic. Director Rodrigo Garcia (Mother and Child) has shown an impeccable talent for women's pictures, and his sensitivity to Albert's plight is tangible.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's sexual politics. Why weren't women capable of working during the time in which the movie takes place? How did such thinking come about? Have we moved away from that thinking today?

  • How does the movie portray sex and relationships? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on these subjects.

  • What has "Albert" sacrificed in order to work as a man? What has s/he gained?


Movie details

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