Mrs Harris Goes to Paris (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)

While Mrs. Harris has all the charm in the world, unfortunately, dry supporting characters are too much to compensate for.


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Movie poster for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

While Mrs. Harris has all the charm in the world, unfortunately, dry supporting characters are too much to compensate for.

Director(s) Anthony Fabian
Screenplay By Anthony Fabian, Carroll Cartwright, Keith Thompson, Olivia Hetreed
Date Released (In Theaters) 7/15/2022
Genre(s) Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Historical
Duration 1 Hour 55 Minutes
Content Rating PG
Noted Cast
Mrs. Harris Lesley Manville
Archie Jason Isaacs
Violet Ellen Thomas
Mrs. Colbert Isabelle Huppert
Marquis de Chassagne Lambert Wilson
André Lucas Bravo
Natasha Alba Baptista

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

For most of her life, Mrs. Harris has been kind, witty, and some would even call her a fairy godmother. However, while she does a lot for many, not many do much for her. Yes, she has friends, like Archie and Violet, but with being a widow for more than a decade, while she may never say something is missing in her life, it doesn’t mean a part of her doesn’t want more.

So, when luck decides to smile on her, Mrs. Harris chooses to buy a Christian Dior dress after admiring one her employer bought. She saved up the cash required to get to Paris and buy the dress, only to learn from Mrs. Colbert that she isn’t of the necessary status to buy a dress.

Luckily, a man named Marquis de Chassagne escorts her in, despite Mrs. Colbert and many other people protesting. But, with cash in hand, and Christian Dior cash strapped, André, the accountant, tries to make Mrs. Harris happy, including giving her a place to stay while Mrs. Harris has over a week of fittings. In return for his kindness and that of others, she brings the life and vivaciousness only the privileged in England, rich or otherwise, have had for years.

Things To Note

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Cursing (Nothing vulgar), Violence (No), Sexual Content (Outside of some women in their underwear, no), Miscellaneous (drinking throughout the film)

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Mrs. Harris

A good portion of Mrs. Harris’ life has been spent being invisible. She would clean for others, do seamstress work, and while she had cordial relationships with her employers, they weren’t really friends. Heck, getting some to pay on a regular basis could be hard. But, they never took Mrs. Harris’ joy, or she rarely, if ever, allowed any of them to impose the kind of emotional labor which would leave her to have nothing left for her friends. Years of working have allowed her to maintain some sort of balance and keep her from losing who she is.

Archie

Archie works at the local races and has a steady job, which allows him to be a notorious flirt who is worth taking seriously, to a point.

Violet

Violet is Mrs. Harris’ best friend who also works cleaning people’s houses and seems to be the main one pushing Mrs. Harris to live a bit.

Mrs. Colbert

A manager at the exclusive Christian Dior boutique, Mrs. Colbert doesn’t necessarily rule with an iron fist, but she is formidable, stuck in her ways, and enjoys working for someone at a place that is considered rather exclusive.

Marquis de Chassagne

A rich widower who takes to Mrs. Harris seems due to her being an English woman who isn’t poised and all the way proper, but still very much a lady.

André

The accountant for Christian Dior, who, in his spare time, reads French philosophers.

Natasha

One of Dior’s premier models, but the longer she has been with the company, the more Natasha has become dissatisfied with being a living doll for exquisite clothes or for men to admire or have on their arms.

Review


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Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Highlights

Mrs. Harris’ Charm Carries The Film

Mrs. Harris on her way to Christian Dior
Lesley Manville stars as Mrs. Harris in director Tony Fabian’s MRS.HARRIS GOES TO PARIS, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Liam Daniel / © 2021 Ada Films Ltd – Harris Squared Kft

“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” completely rides on you finding Lesley Manville charming and funny. Truly, she is the one thing that keeps you from checking the time or getting too bored. Now, I can’t promise you that you’ll be piqued and engaged for nearly the entire two hours. However, with Mrs. Harris being an everyman kind of woman, lacking a BBC accent or dialect, and getting the fuddy-duddies around her to accept a working-class woman in their midst, who is a bit of a meddler, she’ll keep you on the hook. You may wonder how is a week in Paris so long to watch, but it’s never so bad you’ll get antsy to the point of being ready to leave at the first sign the credits are about to roll.

Low Points

Bland Supporting Characters

The issue with “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” is that nearly every supporting character lacks any charm, villainy, or anything to get a reaction out of you. Mrs. Colbert, the would-be villain, doesn’t rise to the occasion nor has the type of backstory which makes her overtly complex. Yes, you can see being a woman of some sort of power is a reprieve from her unfortunate home life, but Isabelle Hupper can only do so much when something isn’t written in the script.

Violet and Archie seeing Mrs Harris in a Dior dress
Ellen Thomas stars as Vi and Jason Isaacs as Archie in director Tony Fabian’s MRS.HARRIS GOES TO PARIS, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Dávid Lukács / © 2021 Ada Films Ltd – Harris Squared Kft

As for the rest? Violet feels like your usual Black best friend character. Archie seems nice, a bit eccentric, but lacks a hook, and as for Andre and his love interest Natasha? They are sweet kids, and listening to them talk about philosophy may interest some, but they are underdeveloped. Ultimately, they veer more towards being attractive actors to diversify what this film can offer than people who can help carry the heavy load of keeping audiences entertained for nearly two hours.

On The Fence

It Might Have Been Better Suited As A Mini-Series

Watching “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” reminds me of “Julia” on HBO Max. Like Julia Child, Mrs. Harris is pushed to be someone who isn’t the norm and exists within a world not meant for her to be in. But, because of the time “Julia” has, you aren’t stuck on Julia like a child to their parent but are given reason to want to know this person or that person more.

In my mind, “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” while it doesn’t use the time it already has well, perhaps it could have been better if it had more time to build up everyone. I’d even include Mrs. Harris in the equation, for while she has charm, and a bit of a sob story, her being the nice person taken advantage of, who gets what she deserves, does feel a bit generic. Thankfully, Manville brings a special something to the character to offset how Mrs. Harris can seem run-of-the-mill but, again, her co-stars aren’t so lucky, and it could simply be not being given an appropriate amount of time to win viewers over.

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Movie poster for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Mrs Harris Goes to Paris (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
“Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris” is applause-worthy for being different from a lot of theatrical releases that don’t require you to head to the biggest city near you. However, it uses its lead as too much of a crutch and, unfortunately, not enough is written in to make this seem like a valuable use of two hours.
Highlights
Mrs. Harris’ Charm Carries The Film
Disputable
It Might Have Been Better Suited As A Mini-Series
Bland Supporting Characters
71

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