No happiness: Close brings out Albert's sad little life

I know a novel that begins: "This is the saddest story I've ever heard." Now here is one of the saddest movies I have ever seen. It is sad because a woman has chosen to lead her life in a way that is fearful and unnatural to her, and she must live every moment in dread.

As you must know by now, Albert Nobbs is not a man. She works as a butler and waiter in a 19th-century Dublin hotel, where she dresses and passes as a man because a woman would not be hired for the job, and she needs the economic security. We can sympathize. But the pain she lives in isn't worth the money. Many people pass as members of the other sex for many reasons, but my impression is that for most of them it answers a genuine emotional need. [Full review]