Star Cast: Lesley Manville, Ellen Thomas, Alba Baptista, Isabelle Huppert, Lambert Wilson, Lucas Bravo & ensemble.
Director: Anthony Fabian.
What’s Good: Some films instantly make you feel good from the first frame and manage to make you smile throughout. This is one of those and you must not miss it.
What’s Bad: If you choose not to watch this beautiful film. A lady post the screening said this movie is definitely for women only. You don’t trust such people, it’s a film for everyone who dreams.
Loo Break: It’s a 2-hour film and there are intervals in India, use them.
Watch or Not?: Escapist cinema with a mid-aged woman headlining it and honing her craft isn’t an everyday occurrence. There is no reason for you to miss this.
Language: English With French (with subtitles).
Available On: In Theatres Near You.
Runtime: 118 Minutes
It is the London of 1957, Ada Harris, a widowed cleaning lady demands no big thing from life. One fine day she comes across a beautiful Christian Dior gown at her royal employer’s place and aspires to own one. She collects the $500 amount and reaches the doorsteps of the designer only to bring a storm in the haute couture world.
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris Movie Review: Script Analysis
One doesn’t have to be a fashion connoisseur to know the divinity of a Christian Dior product and the legacy it brings with it. Adapted from Paul Gallico’s 1958 novel, Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris is about a woman who dreams big just one day in her life and wants it to get fulfilled and makes sure she does that herself. It is the victory of the zest and a specimen of how hope and goodness can move mountains. Cinema that brings home goodness.
Adapted for the screen by Anthony Fabian, Carroll Cartwright, Keith Thompson & Olivia Hetreed, the screenplay of the movie is simple, one of those Marry Poppins kind. The world isn’t cruel in ways it cannot be taught goodness, problems aren’t so big that a smile and a cup of tea won’t solve them, lack of money doesn’t break a person to an extent they throw away the human in them. So amid this when a widowed cleaning lady with just enough to bring food on her plate decides to go to Paris and buy a custom Dior gown, it creates ripples.
But the writing soon makes you realise she was born to create them. Look at how the writers set the base for her journey in 15 minutes. Ada is as pure as the most pristine of the diamonds. Her entire life is hooked on hope, hope that her husband missing for over a decade will come back some day, hope that life will be more giving and she will have a better world, hope that whatever good she is giving to the world the universe will give back to her. But that doesn’t mean she cannot fight for what she wants, she chooses not to. And when she decides to, she crashes the head office of Mr. Christian Dior!
The movie is a reminder of the good in people and how evil cannot take away that shine. While saying this simple thing, Fabian with his team also makes a commentary about the fashion culture. Inside the House Of Dior, he creates a world perfectly caricaturized to an extent where it looks quite resembling. People are cut off from the revolution happening at their doorstep, the resistance of the elite towards common folks, the exploitation of resources and people in the name of exclusivity, and the big money it demands. There is even a manager who is more concerned than Dior himself, a supermodel who wants to be more than just a pretty face, an accountant who is a misfit, and a tailor who only talks in pure sarcasm.
While all of it could easily become a joke it never does, because Ada enters the House Of Dior and calls their gowns, ‘frocks’. She looks at Christian Dior and says, “he looks like my milkman”. She stands with the workers and gives them motivation. At the same time the beautiful Paris has piles of garbage on the streets as workers go on strike against the oppressing elites. Even the House Of Dior is running a business of loss while creating a facade of rich in the public eye. So while the movie is marinated in escapism, it also makes you aware that it knows the politics of its time.
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris Movie Review: Star Performance
Lesley Manville is a force of nature. This performance cannot be given without at least half the goodness of Ada Harris already present in the person playing her. She does everything from cleaning homes, to asking for her place in the world, to rocking those Christian Dior gowns so effortlessly and with a smile on her face. She puts the good in goodness here.
Isabelle Huppert as manager Claudine is the second best as she is hell-bent on keeping the luxury in the brand intact. The actor is so convincing that when you see her with her guard down for the first time, you won’t be able to recognise her. So is Alba Baptista who plays Natasha and is a mini-Jennifer Lawrence minus her unique voice. The actor brings vibrance on screen and manages to hold it.
Ellen Thomas as Violet is a friend I would trade anything for. Her portrayal of a woman of colour in the world of whites is so fun because she is unapologetic and knows how to show everyone their place.
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris Movie Review: Direction, Music
Anthony Fabian knows he has put together an amazing team to create a good film. So in his direction he keeps things as simple and sorted as possible. There is no rush to reach anywhere, he lets you soak in every part of the world he is creating and also sprinkles beautiful details. Even the cinematography and design are kept minimal because the people in the frame don’t need padding.
The music helps a lot with this one. It is a feel-good film with a very endearing story, the music only elevates everything.
Just one doubt, how did Ada’s gown fit Pamela in the first place? There bodies are entirely different and no fittings can change a dress that vastly.
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris Movie Review: The Last Word
Escapism in cinema done right is a rare sight and this one is even worth beholding. Good actors, aware filmmaker, and a highly abled team come together to give us the cutest movie of the year and you must not miss it.
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris Trailer
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris releases on November 4, 2022.
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For more recommendations, read our Everything Everywhere All At Once Movie Review here.