Director: Anthony Fabian
Cast: Lesley Manville, Isabelle Huppert, Lambert Wilson, Alba Baptista, Lucas Bravo, Ellen Thomas, Rose Williams, Jason Isaacs
Runtime: 1 hr 56 mins
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 20 October 2022
Synopsis: MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS is the enchanting tale of a seemingly ordinary British housekeeper whose dream to own a couture Christian Dior gown takes her on an extraordinary adventure to Paris.
It’s been a while since we walked out of the cinema feeling good about life. Thanks to Mrs Harris, the protagonist of this historical comedy drama, we were positive that as long as we followed our dreams, anything is possible and there is a happy ending for each and everyone of us.
Based on the Paul Gallico’s 1958 novel Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris, the movie takes place in London during the 1950s. Mrs. Ada Harris is a widowed cleaning lady and she is the cheeriest and most helpful person you’d ever met. There isn’t one glimpse of grumpiness in her, and she’s always ready to greet you with a chirpy hello. One day, she comes across a client’s haute couture Dior dress. For most of us who are not into high end fashion, this piece of clothing is custom fitted and made by hand, which means it is a unique piece of clothing that no other person has.
Enchanted by its beauty, Mrs Harris finds herself travelling to Paris, hoping to purchase a Dior dress with the war widow pension she received unexpectedly. There, she meets a charming gentleman, a good natured Dior accountant, a kind Dior model and a snobbish Dior sales director. A series of events lead to a strike by Dior workers, a Dior dress going up in flames, and most importantly, the realisation that being beautiful inside is as important as the elegance and sophistication of a Dior dress.
The 116 minute movie is a breeze to sit through. From start to finish, you’ll cheer Mrs Harris on as she finds her way to into a showing of Dior's 10th anniversary collection. She will watch in awe and amazement as the models walk into the room in their exquisite outfits, and so will you. It’s noteworthy to know that the current team at Dior had helped with the production design of this memorable scene, developing plans for the salon, providing props and garments, and most importantly, granting access to their archives. It’s a gesture of endorsement which filmmakers are happy to receive.
English actress Lesley Manville glows as she takes on the role of the good hearted Mrs Harris, while the legendary Isabelle Huppert effortlessly portrays the snooty sales director. Supporting characters are played by Lambert Wilson (the French gentleman who set Mrs Harris’s heart aflutter), Alba Baptisa and Lucas Bravo (the other Dior staff who warmly welcome Mrs Harris), as well as Jason Isaacs (the man who eventually wins Mrs Harris’s heart).
The movie directed by Anthony Fabian is the third film adaptation of the novel, and it is unabashedly heartwarming. It is a wholesome picture that is pleasant from start to end, with a few chuckle worthy moments. Many of us have not treated ourselves to such a crowd pleaser at the cinemas for a while, so why not catch this delightful period drama with an open heart and take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If Mrs Harris can celebrate life by following her dreams, it’s a timely reminder that we can do the same as well.
(Get ready to smile and have your heart warmed by this delightful movie that celebrates the joy of following your dreams)
Review by John Li