Celebrating Dior

Mrs Harris Goes to Paris

Director: Anthony Fabian

Cast: Lesley Manville, Isabelle Huppert, Lambert Wilson, Alba Baptiste, Lucas Bravo, Jason Isaacs, Christian McKay, Freddie Fox, Ellen Thomas, Roxanne Duran

Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Running Time: 1 hour and 55 minutes

This film is in English and French with subtitles.

Oscar nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) returns to the world of 1950’s fashion in the delightful remake of the 1992 Television film Mrs Harris Goes to Paris based on the novel by Paul Gallico and stars as a London cleaning lady Ada Harris.

Upon finding out that her beloved husband was declared dead while missing in action in World War II, Mrs Harris receives a War Widow’s pension pay out from the military and through a series of fortunate events saves up enough money to tell her friend Violet Butterfield played by Ellen Thomas and her male friend Archie played by Jason Isaacs (Hotel Mumbai, A Cure for Wellness) that she is going to Paris to buy a Christian Dior haute couture dress worth 500 pounds. This is 1957 in London, so that was a tidy sum to pay for a frock.

MHP_08235_RC (l-ctr.) Roxane Duran stars as Marguerite, Bertrand Poncet as Monsieur Carré and Lesley Manville as Mrs. Harris in director Tony Fabian’s MRS.HARRIS GOES TO PARIS, a Focus Features release. Credit: Dávid Lukács / © 2021 Ada Films Ltd – Harris Squared Kft

As the title suggests, Mrs Harris does indeed go to Paris to the eccentric and complicated House of Dior run by Madame Colbert wonderfully played with panache by Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and soon makes friend with the young and dashing account manager Andre Fauvel played by Emily in Paris star Lucas Bravo (Ticket to Paradise). As Mrs Harris soon discovers everything at Dior is not what they seem, despite the gorgeous gowns and the glamour. The fashion house is in economic decline and needs to attract a new set of clientele.

MHP_06584_RC Lesley Manville stars as Mrs. Harris and Lambert Wilson as Marquis de Chassange in director Tony Fabian’s MRS.HARRIS GOES TO PARIS, a Focus Features release. Credit: Dávid Lukács / © 2021 Ada Films Ltd – Harris Squared Kft

With her forthright and street smart attitude, Mrs Harris soon gets her beautiful dress while disrupting the House of Dior and warding off the overtures from the fussy but debonair Marquis de Chassagne played by French actor Lambert Wilson (The Matrix Resurrections, 5 to 7), while realizing deep down that she will eventually have to return to her life as a cleaning lady and deal with her posh employers including Giles Newcombe played by Christian McKay and Lady Dant wonderfully played by Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Dreamers).

Extremely well cast with both British and French actors, Mrs Harris Goes to Paris is a delightful film about a woman fulfilling her dreams while gaining a beautiful dress and finding a place to eventually show off that gown with the real man of her dreams. Lesley Manville is exceptional as Mrs Harris downplaying the role to perfection while making Mrs Harris believable and more significantly relatable.

MHP_13739_R Lucas Bravo stars as André Fauvel, Lesley Manville as Mrs. Harris and Alba Baptista as Natasha in director Tony Fabian’s MRS.HARRIS GOES TO PARIS, a Focus Features release. Credit: Dávid Lukács / © 2021 Ada Films Ltd – Harris Squared Kft

The young actors Lucas Bravo and Alba Baptiste provide some eye candy, while the Dior gowns steal the show particularly the infamous dress which makes international headlines.

If viewers love an excellent feel good film, then watch Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, its light enough not to be taken too seriously but strong enough to make a lasting impression as it subtly makes comments about industrial action, class relations and high fashion.

Mrs Harris Goes To Paris gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and is highly recommended viewing.

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