Title: Mrs Harris Goes to Paris
Directed by: Anthony Fabian
Screenplay by: Carroll Cartwright, Anthony Fabian, Keith Thompson, Olivia Hetreed
Starring: Lesley Manville, Isabelle Huppert, Lambert Wilson, Alba Baptista, Lucas Bravo, Ellen Thomas, Rose Williams, Jason Isaacs
Running time: 115 minutes
On 1950s London Mrs Harris cleans the homes of those richer and more glamorous than herself. It's a tough life, but it's what she knows and what she has always done. She has few ambitions above her station. That is until she spots a beautiful Doir dress is the bedroom of one of the families for which she works. Only then, and having listened to lots of French language music records, is her imagination sparked. She checks her carefully managed budget and decides to go to Paris to buy a Doir gown of her own.
But things turn out quite differently and what was intended as a shopping trip, ends up with her working in the business of high fashion. After she becomes friends with a young couple that she helps to match romantically, played by Lucas Bravo and Alba Baptista, she finds a job as a clothing designer and even finds a love interest played by Lambert Wilson. Isabelle Huppert turns up as the director of Dior, she doesn't really like Mrs. Harris after she has the audacity to sit in her seat at a fashion show.
Anthony Fabian directs the movie and does well on a rather small budget managing to recreate the locations, sights and sounds of 1950s London and Paris.
Costume designer Jenny Beavan obviously had a lot of work to do and she excels with some wonderfully authentic dresses and outfits that are fitting for the period and the locations.
We also get to see Mrs. Harris riding pillion on a Vespa scooter along the cobbled streets of Paris on her way to dress fittings. It's all rather Parisian and quaint. It's a fun, likable film. I've not Lesley Manville in many other films but at the age of 66 (perhaps older than we would expect for this sort of dream fulfilment movie) she handles the demands of the script very well, conveying various emotions with ease and interacting with her co-stars with a light touch that creates delightful moments throughout. She has a touch of Meryl Streep about her, in both visage and acting choices and talent. I'm very impressed by her in this film, she seems to be the perfect fit for the role and carries the film with genuine poise and skill.
Paris has some of the most amazing sights in the world - The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, they are all wonderful places to visit. But if you can’t take a holiday in real life, take a trip to Paris with Mrs. Harris, you certainly won't be disappointed.