Thursday, November 17, 2022
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Anthony Fabian’s Mrs Harris Goes To Paris – based on Paul Gallico’s beloved 1958 novel – is a saccharine story in the best of senses. As maudlin (and occasionally pernicious) as it may be at times – especially in its assertions of capitalism’s ability to provide the poorer classes with happiness - audiences can’t help being drawn in on the whimsical journey.
In 1950’s London, Mrs Harris (played with exceptional facility and lovability by Lesley Manville), a widowed cleaning lady falls madly in love with a couture Dior dress. After working to raise the funds to pursue her consumerist dream, she embarks on an adventure to Paris that will “change not only her own outlook -- but the very future of the House of Dior.”
Fairy-tale escapism is the order of the day in the adapted film – which has potential sequel opportunity, considering its origins as part one of a four book series of the titular Ada Harris’s adventures. And there’s a chance for it: Lesley Mansville gives a luminous performance, one which audiences can’t help but smile at. In the hands of a lesser actor, the script could easily become sentimental drivel. But instead, Manville has us cheering along for her blue-collar performance, letting us in on how small dreams can sometimes mean an entire world.
A few unfortunate events are led by the frosty Claudine Colbert (Isabelle Huppert), who acts as a gatekeeper of taste who does her best to keep Mrs Harris at arm’s length from the posh upper crust.
Manville’s Cockney, chirpy cliché mounts challenge after challenge, undeterred by anything in her wake in this sugary film that is just what the doctor prescribes in a world of hardships.
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris is showing now at the Bowen Summergarden Cinema.
Lesley Manville is a delight in Mrs Harris Goes To Paris