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Posts Tagged ‘Janet McTeer’

Jai Courtney, Lily James

“THE EXCEPTION” My rating: B-  

107 minutes | MPAA rating: R

At 88 years of age, Christopher Plummer just keeps getting better.

In “The Exception” he portrays an historic figure — Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany — and pretty much mops up the floor with actors half his age.

The premise of David Leveaux’s directing debut finds a young German officer — Capt. Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney) — assigned to the thankless task of heading the household guard for Wilhelm II (Plummer), who has lived in exile in the Netherlands since abdicating the German throne two decades earlier after losing World War I.

Though the Nazi hierarchy has little use for the old man, Wilhelm still is regarded by some members of the German public as a beloved figurehead.  It would be a p.r. black eye should he be lost to an assassin or kidnapped by the Allies and spirited off to England. Brandt’s presence is meant to prevent that.

For the young officer — who was wounded in the invasion of Poland — the assignment is a bit of an insult. Wilhelm and his wife, Princess Hermine (Janet McTeer), live as high as they can on the cash Hitler’s henchmen provide, all the while dreaming of restoring the monarchy and once again wearing the crown.  Brandt is expected to tolerate their pretensions without encouraging them.

There’s one bright spot in this assignment. The Kaiser has a new housemaid, Mieke (Lily James), who catches the Captain’s eye.  Before long they are having a grand old time despite Hermine’s rule against copulation among members of the staff.

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Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs

“ALBERT NOBBS”  My rating: B (Opens Jan. 27)

113 minutes | MPAA rating: R

There’s so much interesting stuff going on in “Albert Nobbs” that it’s hard to know where to begin.

First, of course, there are the Oscar-nominated performances by Glenn Close (best actress) and Janet McTeer (supporting actress). What makes it doubly intriguing is that both play women disguised as men.

Then there’s the true but semi-fantastical premise of the screenplay by Close and John Banville, which springs from the fact that in Victorian Ireland (and elsewhere around the world during various epochs), certain women to simply survive or to realize their ambitions have opted to go through life as males, never letting society know of their secret.

And finally there’s the man behind the camera, Rodrigo Garcia, who has given us two wonderful and criminally underappreciated masterpieces of independent cinema (“Nine Lives,” “Mother and Child”) and produced (and, frequently, directed) the HBO  series “In Treatment” about a psychotherapist and his patients.

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