Lesbianism doesn't exist as a cogent category in 19th century Ireland, which could explain why Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close), a woman disguised for years as a man and employed as a Dublin waiter, has no personal understanding of who she is, her identity, or what she feels. She starts a path of self-discovery when she meets the far more evolved "Mr. Page" (Janet McTeer), who lives happily in a marriage with another woman. The two leads give exemplary performances, and filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia is, as always, adept at directing actresses. Yet somehow the narrative, from a novella by Ireland's George Moore, never quite becomes as moving as one would wish, despite its unquestionable sincerity.