Mrs Harris Goes To Paris – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Anthony Fabian
Starring: Lesley Manville, Isabelle Huppert, Lambert Wilson, Alba Baptista, Lucas Bravo, Ellen Thomas, Rose Williams, Jason Isaacs
In cinemas on Sept 30th
Apparently, this is the third adaptation of a 1958 novel called Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico. While I generally consider myself a font of pop culture knowledge, I must admit that the book, and the previous two adaptations, have never been on my radar so I was watching this with no expectations or background knowledge but in this case, the clue really is in the title. Mrs Harris does indeed go to Paris and that is the whole plot, and it is beautiful in its simplicity.
Set in 1957, Manville plays the titular Mrs Harris or the title. A widowed cleaning lady living in London, she becomes obsessed with one client’s haute couture Dior dress. She decides to buy her own and events conspire to ensure that she has the funds to do so. However, naïve to the inner workings of haute couture she doesn’t realise you can’t just buy the dress off the rack, and thus begins her adventure as she stays in Paris while her dress is completed. She makes new friends, finds a new lease of life and changes the lives of everyone she encounters.
This is a straightforward story that is charmingly told. It is beautifully paced and stunningly shot. Manville is impressive in the lead role and ably supported by some beautiful performances from her co-stars. All of the characters are well written and rounded and you find yourself getting very invested in them. This is an utterly feel-good cinematic experience and it is impossible not to be charmed by it. After all the chaos of the past few years, it feels cosy and safe and will leave even the biggest cynic grinning from ear to ear.