Film Review – Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (PG)

Directed by: Anthony Fabian

Starring: Lesley Manville, Isabelle Hubbert, Lambert Wilson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

Lesley Mandeville shines as the titular Mrs. Harris in this delightful adaptation of the 1958 novel Mrs ‘Arris Goes to Paris.

In 1957 London, when house cleaner and seamstress Mrs Ada Harris (Lesley Manville) receives notice that her husband, who has been MIA since he went to war almost 10 years ago, has died, she finally has closure she needs to move on.

Around this time, Mrs Harris spots a client’s 500 pound couture Dior dress, instantly falls in love with it and begins saving her pennies to head to the House of Dior in Paris to buy her own.

When she arrives, she is met by the snooty President Claudine Colbert (Isabelle Hubbert), but staff rally to make this people pleasing woman’s dream come true.

What appears on the surface to be a light and fluffy adventure aimed squarely at the older female demographic (and, to be fair, it is all these things), Mrs Harris Goes to Paris is a bittersweet charmer that unveils layers that one may not initially expect.

It has a laundry list of themes – never to old to dream or achieve your goals, fashion should be for everyone, class system, rich vs poor, karma etc – and yet manages to juggle and interweave them with such grace that it never feels preachy.

Had this been an American production, it would have had the ability to rot teeth with its saccharine tone.

But with a British sensibility, there is a certain refreshing charm and genuineness about the story and its characters.

Manville is an absolute star in the lead role, just radiating purity and goodness, but also able to dig deep and break your heart, particularly in the scene where she processes the news of her husband.

An added bonus, and it would have been a fatal flaw without it, is the jaw dropping fashions, which this movie clearly appreciates and wants to share, but does not rely solely on them to keep the audience interested – it always comes back to the characters and story.

One Response to “Film Review – Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”

  1. I saw Mrs ‘arris with Angela Lansbury and Omar Sharif once many years ago, and remember that I did like it. I hope this version pays justice.

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