Friday, February 3, 2012

Albert or Maggie, Glenn or Meryl

Albert Nobbs is a film adaptation of a 19th century Irish short story by George Moore. Albert is a woman who passes as a man so that she can work as a waiter in a hotel. It is not about sex or even gender but about class and the need to support herself in an environment that is difficult for women. Glenn Close played the role many years ago off Broadway. Now, as a mature actress she brings Albert to screen. I loved the short story when I read it about a year ago and loved the movie.

Iron Lady is a biopic of Margaret Thatcher, the first woman Prime Minister of England and first woman in European politics. I was not going to see the film but after seeing Albert Nobbs, I wanted to compare the performances of these two great actors.

I didn't care for the Iron Lady. Whether it was the screenplay or the Director, I felt that it was over the top and made a caricature of Maggie. Half of the film is Thatcher when she is old and feeble and in dementia. By necessity the role requited dramatic makeup in the conversion of Streep to Thatcher. Opposite to this, the makeup of Glen Close is subtle because the goal of Albert as a waiter is to be invisible.

IMO Albert Nobbs is by far the better movie.
The makeup team superbly handles the subtle change of Glenn Close into the male waiter Albert.
By necessity, I suppose, the makeup team had a heavy hand in the transformation of Meryl Streep

And IMO the best actress Oscar should go to Glenn Close

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