There are some films that tick all the boxes when it comes to positive criteria in production, direction, acting talent, even costuming, and Mrs Harris Goes To Paris is one of those films.
The film is a perfect blend of stunning Parisian settings, splendid couture and lovable character study; a sweet, feelgood drama that is as satisfying as the delicious champagne and delightful petit fours once served in the salons of the House of Christian Dior.
A reboot of sorts – of the 1958 original film starring Gracie Fields as the original Mrs Harris and of the 1992 remake with Angela Lansbury (somewhat of a sleeper) Mrs ‘Arris Goes to Paris, this production is definitely the best of the three.
Directed by Anthony Fabian, and set in 1950s London and Paris, the latest Mrs Harris is a classier, more relatable story to its previous incarnations. Indeed, it’s a film for anyone interested in those insane paths that desire can sometimes drive us down.
Lesley Manville is incomparable as the adorable Ada Harris, a hard-working cleaning lady and widower who is invisible to elite society. After her husband is killed in the war, Ava is forced to come to terms with what the next stage in her life will be; searching for a glimmer of magic in her now-disappointing reality.
After a bit of a gamble, lots of hiccups, and a little luck, Mrs Harris finds herself in the French capital – which she’d dreamed of – but better than that, in the front row of an exclusive showing by fashion designer Christian Dior. Little does she realise that one small fashion show will change not only her own outlook on life but fate’s hand in the future of the House of Dior.
This is a delightful film for followers of fashion, fans of Paris, and for anyone who has ever dreamt so big, they’d trade their entire life savings to get it.
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris takes the audience into the historic Parisian streets and sumptuous elite salons of a city that is as joyous a place to get lost in as it is a place to be found.
Romance isn’t just for lovers but dreamers and idealists who can revolutionise the world or, as in this case, stir the foundation of upper-class society – shifting privilege from the haves to the have-nots, or anyone passionate enough to believe they deserve as much.
Mrs Harris’s triumph over classist boundaries sings praise for how the everyday man or woman is to be saluted when kindness as a virtue is adopted over status and money.
An extra attraction in the film is handsome hottie Lucas Bravo who plays elegant Andre Fauvel, Christian Dior’s accountant who quickly befriends Mrs Harris. Legendary French actor Isabelle Huppert delivers a frosty performance as Claudine Colbert – the loyal workhorse and right-hand woman of Dior himself, while Alba Baptista is cast as Natasha, a stunning Dior model who encompasses all that is attractive and fragile in an industry considered skin deep for the most part.
We can learn from the film’s universal message that money may not buy you absolute happiness yet it can lead you to high places where major changes can be made, and changes for the good.
One of the more charming films you’d have seen in years.
Annette McCubbin & Antonino Tati
‘Mrs Harris Goes To Paris’ is in cinemas October 27, 2022.