Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is a warm and delightful tale about a working class English woman in the 1950s. She sees a Dior gown, falls in love with it, and goes to Paris to secure one for herself.
In Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Lesley Manville plays the cleaning woman, Ada Harris. She’s a widow with little more than a kind heart to her name. One of her clients (who never pays her for her work) buys a Dior dress. When Mrs. Harris sees it, she’s enchanted. Transported. Owning a Dior ‘frock’ becomes her dream.
When she learned that the dress cost £500 she was discouraged. (That’s equivalent to about $13,000 now.) But she won a lottery and began to save.
Her best friend Vi (Ellen Thomas) also worked cleaning people’s homes. Archie (Jason Isaacs) worked at the dog track. She let them in on her scheme to save £500. She lost money at the dog track, but Archie saved the day for her there. She had all sorts of lucky breaks.
And she made it to Paris.
But you don’t just waltz in the door at Dior, plunk down your cash and walk out with a dress. You have to deal with the barracuda guarding Christian Dior from the riffraff, Claudine Colbert (Isabelle Huppert). You have to gain the arm of a suave Parisian, Marquis de Chassagne (Lambert Wilson), to even get in the room to see the fashions.
Once you see the dress you want, you have to convince the young model you helped on the stairway, Natasha (Alba Baptista) to speak up for you in the back rooms. And you have to enlist the support of the accountant, Andre Fauvel (Lucas Bravo), who must deal with actual cash – unheard of!
After you do all that, surprise, you still don’t get the dress. They have to measure you and sew it up to fit, a process that takes time. Time a working class widow doesn’t have to spend in Paris.
But Mrs. Harris is charming, and lucky, and everyone just naturally wants to help her. She stays. A week in Paris can be exciting. People who help her are changed by her attitude – including Christian Dior himself.
Many good things happen to the cheerful Mrs. Harris, life is almost a bed of roses. But not completely. Bad stuff happens and it’s bloody depressing.
The film is available to rent from Prime Video and YouTube and may be available in other places as well. Mrs. Harris is a lovely woman, guaranteed to make you feel good. Take a look at the trailer.