The British comedy-drama Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris has been a big hit this month at the box office. It opened in Paris in July and has been receiving positive reviews across the board. Paul Gallico’s 1958 novel Mrs. Arris Goes to Paris has been adapted three times for the screen. Earlier versions of the film starred Angela Lansbury and Diana Rigg from Game of Thrones.
A film called Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022) was filmed in Budapest, London, and Paris at the end of 2020 with Lesley Manville as the lead actress. It might seem like a poor fit for the blockbuster season, but strong performances and a creative story have generated significant word-of-mouth. Here’s the scoop on Ada Harris’ adventures.
During the late 1950s, Gallico’s novel depicts the exploits of a London cleaning lady who, while cleaning the house of a client, discovers and covets a designer dress by Dior. A sudden windfall of money leads Mrs. Harris to buy a Dior dress on a whim in Paris.
By accident, she finds herself at the haute couture house where she makes friends with model Natasha. A well-to-do Frenchman assists her in her quest by offering her his arm when she is on the verge of being thrown out and putting in a good word for her in the rarefied atmosphere of Parisian high society.
The fish-out-of-water trope is further exacerbated when it is revealed that Claudine, the Dior director, plans to fire several employees. The plucky Mrs. Harris stymies Mrs. Harris’s designs, but will she get what she wants?
In addition to Vera Drake, Lesley Manville also appeared in Julian Fellowes’ 2013 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. With her Oscar-nominated performance opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread (2017), she lends credibility to the role of Mrs. Harris. Despite her intelligent, nuanced performance, she may yet be nominated for a second Academy Award.
She is opposed by Isabelle Huppert, a celebrated French actress whose reputation precedes her. Among English-speaking audiences, she is most notable for her performance in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle (2016), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination and an Academy Award nomination.
In addition to Lambert Wilson, best known for his role as Merovingian in the Matrix trilogy, he played General de Gaulle in the biopic of the same name about the Second World War. Alba Baptista, a Portuguese actor who appears as Natasha in Dior’s English-language debut, Warrior Nun, is returning to Netflix later this year.
Archie is played by Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter franchise, Star Trek: Discovery), Lady Dant by Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pennyworth), Pamela Penrose by Rose Williams (Doctor Who, Death in Paradise), and Vi Butterfield by veteran British character actor Ellen Thomas.
Tony Fabian’s uncluttered direction is complemented by Jenny Beavan’s delightful costume design, which won her a third Academy Award for Best Costume Design last year for Cruella). The film’s music score is composed by Rael Jones, which works to Mrs. Harris’s advantage.
Every period detail is carefully researched in order to convey the vivid experience of Mrs. Harris’s journey into post-war Paris. Harris’s day job underpins the Parisian glitz and glamour she experiences, and the message is not “all of this could be yours,” but rather “seize the day.”
Movie-goers aren’t only satisfied by Mrs. Harris’s willingness to stand up for employees whose livelihoods Claudine threatens. An innocent working-class woman pursuing a better future for herself and those around her might be just what we need in a world beset by war, global warming, refugee crises, global pandemics, and poisonous politics.
In its opening week alone, the movie made almost $4.5 million on a $9 million budget in the United States, and it is believed the film has already almost recouped its expenditure, even though it is yet to premiere in the UK, one of the most lucrative English-language markets.
Robert Poirrer is a contributing author who covers Hollywood latest movie releases and web series for the MovieThop website. He has a decade of experience in writing movies based articles for numerous renowned media outlets. He is excellent at creating unique content based on emerging trends in a variety of categories especially entertainment, movies and lifestyle. When not writing articles you could find Robert enjoying mountain biking trips with his friends. He graduated in English Literature from North Carolina State University.