What a fascinating story. Women living their lives as men in order to work and survive in 19th Century Ireland. Lives of secrecy – lives of hiding. Building prisons of “other” identities in which they feel that they must lock up their true selves – or else they will never make it. Would they? It is hard to know. What is abundantly clear is that any human being trapped in the grand pretense of being another is leading a doomed life.
Glenn Close plays Albert Nobbs, who is “passing” as a manservant in a hotel. Janet McTeer is Hubert, passing as a house painter and living a life as a married man. The performances of the entire cast are wonderful – but – the performances of these two great women of stage and screen are outstanding.
Of course, you might say, an actress would have a lot to learn from two such icons in the world of acting. But what can an attorney learn from watching these performances?
One of the major issues that attorneys who try cases have is that they find themselves building these “other” characters that they play in court. Much like their own private “Albert Nobbs”, they live outside the courtroom as one person, and inside the courtroom as another.
Watch how brilliantly Close and McTeer imitate the opposite sex – but how you are always painfully aware that they are only pretending. That they are painfully inauthentic on some level to themselves and their lives. One of the most touching moments of the film is the image of Close and McTeer, dressed in the clothing of women for an afternoon walk on the beach. Women who live their lives as men dressed as women for a few hours.
That basic awkwardness in one’s own skin is somewhat akin to what I observe in attorneys who are not comfortable in their own skins in court. They have created other personas to inhabit their bodies when in court. Like master actors, they literally turn into someone else as they walk up the courtroom steps. Are you one of these people?
Do you see yourself when you see the transformations of these actresses? Look how subtly Glenn Close’s physical transformation was made by experts in make up and wigs: http://youtu.be/b9587IR8wqs
You are the one creating your own disguise in court – and you are a master of it. Do you really still need it to survive?
TIP: Are you one person in court and another in real life?