Movie Review: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022)

Title: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Release Date:  11 July 2022
Director: Anthony Fabian
Production Company: eOne Features | Superbe Films | Moonriver Content | Hero Squared

When I was younger the books of Paul Gallico were more popular than they are now.  I remember a time when my mother, sister, and I realized we were all reading Gallico books at the same time.  He was an eclectic author who wrote fiction and non-fiction on topics ranging from biographies of sports stars, to The Poseidon Adventure, to my personal favorite, The Silent Miaow, written from the point of view of Gallico’s cat writing a manual for young cats for when they adopt humans.  I never read Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris (1958), but because of my fondness for Gallico I wanted to check out this film adaptation.

Ada Harris (played charmingly by Lesley Manville) is a middle-aged house cleaner in London in 1957 who finally gets confirmation that her husband was killed in action 13 years earlier during the war. She becomes obsessed with a haute couture dress owned by one of her clients and saves up her money to go to Paris to buy a dress of her own.  Mrs. Harris’ arrival at the Christian Dior salon causes scandal, especially for the haughty manager Claudine Colbert (Isabelle Huppert).  But Mrs. Harris’ kindness and optimism win over several new friends including the House of Dior’s accountant André Fauvel (Lucas Bravo), the overworked model Natasha (Alba Baptista), and the sentimental widower Marquis de Chassagne (Lambert Wilson). Back in London, the cast includes Ellen Thomas as Ada’s best friend Vi, and Jason Isaacs (in a rare “good guy” role) as her romantic interest Archie.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is a sweet fantasy of the power of kindness and dreams that is sadly more common in traditional Hollywood movies.  But the movie has a social undercurrent depicting the struggles of workers ranging from Mrs. Harris cleaning the homes of the wealthy, to the thankless work of the Dior seamstresses, and even the piles of trash lining the streets of Paris throughout the film due to a sanitation workers strike.  The role of “the invisible woman” behind the great man is even called out (this movie is more sweet than subtle).  Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is probably not going to start a revolution but it should make you think about the indignities and inequalities of the working class to make you want to start your own.

Rating: ***

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022)

    1. It’s so disarmingly sweet. And I was totally waiting for Jason Isaacs to make a heel turn. I’ve never seen him play an actual pleasant character before.

      Liked by 1 person

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