Tropic Sprockets / Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

By Ian Brockway

Anthony Fabian directs “Mrs.Harris Goes to Paris.” The film is a lighthearted and charming comedy from start to finish that beguiles the eye.

Mrs. Harris (Lesley Manville) is an irrepressibly upbeat woman, despite being a widow in 1950s London. People less fortunate than herself are foremost in her mind. She survives as a cleaning lady for the upper class and sometimes they exploit her good nature and humor.

Mrs. Harris does get melancholy but she soldiers on.

One day while cleaning, she spies a beautiful Christian Dior dress as if out of a fairytale. She resolves to have the dress, purchasing it however possible. She takes extra hours and bets on dog racing. Unfortunately, she loses her savings, thinking her winning racer, Haute Couture, is a sure win. 

Then a military officer comes to the door and bumblingly explains that she has previous money owed to her.

Mrs Harris is floored. She purchases a plane ticket to Paris, having enough money to purchase a Dior dress.

This film is affectionate and warm. It brims with vividness and positivity. 

Leslie Manville as a kind of blue collar Mary Poppins has never been better. She is feisty and full of fun. Mrs. Harris has two good friends. Vi from the Caribbean (Ellen Thomas) and the amiable jokester Archie (Jason Isaacs). Isabelle Huppert appears as Claudette Colbert, a Cruella De Vil character at the House of Dior.

This is a blend of “Cinderella” with a bit of “The Devil Wears Prada” and Leslie Manville is so earnest and self-deprecating, with poignance and pluck that she carries the day.

This is old fashioned film entertainment and you cannot help but be swept away by Mrs. Harris and her quirky authenticity.

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