Reviewed by Joy Parris-It’s so refreshing to see a film that leaves you with a smile on your face and your heart open to new adventures. An adaptation of author Paul Gallico’s 1958 novel for the screenwriter-director Anthony Fabian creates a beautiful story of following your dream, the value of true friendship, and staying true to yourself.
The story revolves around Ada Harris (Academy Award® nominee Lesley Manville), a hard-working cleaning woman in post-World War II London. Finances are tight for the working class, her husband Eddie is missing in action but Ada keeps striving while waiting for his return. Her friends Vi (Ellen Thomas), and Archie (Jason Isaacs) are always there to support each other. On a daily basis, Ada has to deal with Lady Dant(Anna Chancellor), her pretentious aristocratic client who is way past due in paying for Ada’s services frivolously dismissing her requests with excuses. And Pamela Penrose(Rose Williams) is a self-absorbed aspiring actress consumed by wanting stardom that nothing matters except what she wants.
When Ada and Vi get off they hang out with Archie at a local dance hall. It’s a routine they all enjoy with each other. When Vi sees Ada’s sadness about Eddy she is right on point with a smile and the right thing to say. Lesley Manville is absolutely endearing in her role and we are swept up in her journey. A journey that begins when cleaning Lady Dant’s home she spies a Christian Dior Haute Couture gown in the closet and it was love at the first sight. Holding the beautiful dress to her body we see the pure desire and dream in her eyes. It is one of the many beautiful moments in the film.
From that point onwards there is no turning back for Ada, she must have a Christian Dior Gown. She must go to Paris. And with that single-minded focus, she begins her quest to have her very own Christian Dior gown. She must raise the money and get to Paris. Taking extra jobs, going to the race track, and with a few other surprises, Ada can finally afford to pay for a Dior dress and go to Paris the city of fashion and elegance. Saying goodbye to close friends Vi and Archie, Ada makes her way to Paris to visit the prestigious House of Dior and turn her dreams into reality.
When she arrives in Paris she is given directions by a kindly homeless Frenchman who shows her the way to the House of Dior. Unbeknownst to her, she arrives just in time for an exclusive fashion show and accidentally gets in when she attempts to return one of the Dior models Natasha(Alba Baptista) purse she drops outside. However once inside the Fashion House Director, Madame Colbert( Isabelle Huppert) definitely does want Ada in the showroom. Her status class level and dress are not the images the House of Dior represents. Ada defiantly protests proclaiming her money is as good as everyone else. Like all fairy tales the distinguished aristocratic Marquis de Chassagne (Lambert Wilson), Paris’s Most eligible bachelor comes to her rescue.
In pursuing her dream not only does Ada finally find her authentic voice, but she also emboldens and changes the lives of others along the way. With stellar acting from all, gorgeous cinematography, and exquisite fashions. A film that will make you cry a little, laugh a lot, and just make you feel good.
Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris is one of the most charming, heartfelt, films to watch this summer.