Screen Scene – Heartwarming & Wholesome: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

by Tabatha Golat – 

In a world teetering on pessimism, it can feel indulgent to pursue a dream, especially one as seemingly frivolous as owning a Dior gown, but this month’s film recommendation – Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris – delves into the significance of following one’s dreams, and assures viewers that a simple dream can change your life.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is a historical dramedy starring Lesley Manville by director Anthony Fabian and set in 1950s London. The film is the third adaptation of the 1958 novel Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico and is currently screening in theatres across North America. I found the film both heartwarming, and wholesome – a throwback to simpler storytelling that relies on character rather than action.

The tale is simple and simply told. Mrs. Ada Harris, a widowed cleaning lady nearing her golden years, is well respected in the close-knit London community where she resides. She’s a cleaner and seamstress with an appreciation for beautiful clothing, and, when she glimpses an expensive Dior gown while cleaning her employer’s chambers, she is instantly smitten. It becomes her dream to own a Dior gown – despite the lavish price tag. Mrs. Harris gets to work diligently saving and planning a trip to the Dior fashion house in Paris. After a series of disappointing setbacks in her efforts to save money, she is pleasantly surprised to learn that she is owed backpay for years of unclaimed widower’s pension. So, armed only with a suitcase and a dream, she shows up at the entrance of Christian Dior Paris. Harris’s journey takes her behind the curtains of haute couture prominence, where she befriends the fashion house workers and unwittingly aids in saving the failing business. An unlikely symbol for change whose compassion and kindness ultimately aid in bettering the world around her, Mrs. Harris is a gem, as is this lighthearted film. Simple and charming in its storytelling, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is just the film to inspire optimism in a world that battles for brightness.

The film doesn’t dwell on details and admittedly isn’t perfect; however, between the sentimental story and incredible costume design (I gasped when Mrs. Harris was treated to a viewing of the Dior collection) viewers are in for a treat. The fashion, history and Lesley Manville’s charming performance are bound to sweep you off your feet, and hopefully inspire your own dreams.

If you’re looking for more heartwarming films bound to inspire, check out my recommendations below.
1. Coco Before Chanel
2. The Devil Wears Prada
3. Julie and Julia
4. Britney Runs a Marathon

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