Bettina’s Take: The Cinema Society Screening of ‘Albert Nobbs’

Mia Wasikowska Glenn Close Giorgio Armani & Cinema Society screening Albert Nobbs

Glenn Close's new film, Albert Nobbs, is a deeply moving tale about a woman forced to live as a man in 19th Century Ireland in order to survive, taking on the job of a butler for many years, until she falls in love. Suddenly her job, her secret and her world are threatened.

The movie and its message have been a labor of love for Close.

"I would like it if it made people think about what it is that makes us human beings, and what it is that unites us rather than separates us," said Close, looking chic in an Armani pants suit. "I personally think that we all need to feel safe, and that we all need some sort of connection with another human being. That supersedes gender, and it's all about how you can survive. For me that's the basic message."

Mia Wasikowska, gorgeous in a black Elie Saab cocktail dress, loved working with Close, and loved the message.

"It was a really beautiful movie about finding someone to survive with in the very pure sense of the word. It's also about the masks that people put up and how they hide behind them, and how it can really affect your life," she said.

Close's face is entirely transformed by prosthetics and makeup. FashionEtc asked the director, Rodrigo Garcia, how long the daily ritual took.

"Not that long. It was under two hours, it wasn't a big mega thing. It was definitely hard work. We couldn't afford to make it take longer, we had budget and time constraints," answered Garcia. "Her transformation was helped by the cut of the clothing. She's wearing something to change the shape of the torso, but a lot of it was posture, the way she walked and the way she approached Nobbs' physicality."

Many celebrities and friends came to support Close at the Giorgio Armani sponsored Cinema Society screening at MoMA, including co-hosts Sandra Brant and Ingrid Sischy, Viola Davis, Rose Byrne, Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Olsen, Taraji P. Henson, John Leguizamo, Angela Bassett, Daniel Radcliffe, Gabourey Sidibe, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Courtney Love, Parker Posey, Mary Beth Hurt, Tony Danza, Alan Alda, Cillian Murphy, Zoe Kravitz, Bruce Weber, Gina Gershon, and Paul Haggis.

FashionEtc asked Tony Danza, Corey Stoll and Stephen Baldwin how each would feel about playing a woman.

"If the role was right, sure," said Danza.

"I would love the challenge of playing a woman, it would be particularly challenging for me," said the very tall and well built Stoll.

"I must confess that I played a showgirl in Las Vegas as the character Barney Rubble in the feature film The Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas and it was life changing," said Baldwin. In a good way? "Yeah sure that's it," he laughed, "in a good way."

Guests walked over to the Armani store to sip on Grey Goose cocktails and munch on passed plates of risotto and scallops. Sinead O'Connor, wearing Armani, gave a memorable performance of the beautiful ballad from the movie.

"The message," she told me, "is to be true to yourself."

Photo: Mia Wasikowska and Glenn Close at the after party for the Giorgio Armani & Cinema Society screening of Albert Nobbs