A tale of aspiration Mrs Harris goes to Paris is based on the 1958 book Flowers for Mrs Harris and has the always great Lesley Manville as 1950’s working class cleaning lady Ada Harris who sets her heart on buying herself something that is out of her reach namely a Dior dress. Updated the modern day equivalent would be of a scrubber trying to attain something above her class – think Gemma Collins at Primark and you get the idea but Mrs Harris goes to Paris is something of a Cinderella story.
Ada Harris (Lesley Manville) is a war widow and housekeeper working all the hours for a variety of clients in an effort to make ends meet. Those clients include a lazy self-centred young socialite, (something of an aspirational role model for modern day influencers) and the ghastly upper class Lady Dant (Anna Chancellor) bragging about how much money she’s splashing out on her daughter’s wedding yet making excuses to not pay Mrs Harris for her work. Despite all this Ada the housekeeper is caring and immensely likeable, a testament to Lesley Manville who is something of an unsung British treasure along the lines of Helen Mirren and Judi Dench. Ada’s close friends include another housekeeper Violet (Ellen Thomas) and they are both friends with friendly bookie Archie (Jason Isaacs) and its them she tells of her desires to save up to buy a Dior dress having seen one in Lady Dant’s wardrobe.
This is the stuff of fairy tales and her saving up to buy one obviously lacks plausible credibility especially when she rocks up at the House of Dior and manages to just walk in where the haughty Head of the fashion house Claudine Colbert ( Isabelle Huppert) treats her with all the disdain of a Dr’s receptionist and makes every effort to turn her before handsome widowed client (Lambert Wilson) takes up her cause and escorts her into the fashion show within. It’s where Ada also meets and befriends the Design house accountant Andre ( Lucas Bravo) and model Natasha ( Alba Baptista) to whom she becomes something of a matchmaker.
The desire for her own Dior dress is the stuff of seemingly unachievable dreams for Ada but which of us doesn’t have a dream and you want Mrs Harris to achieve hers. The dresses are fantastic as would be expected when British Oscar winning designer Jenny Beaven is responsible and are as exquisite as Lesley Manville’s performance.
Both whimsical yet charming and as we go into the autumn chill Mrs Harris Goes to Paris is something of a heart warmer.
Here’s the Mrs Harris goes to Paris trailer…..