Faithful Friday: Following a Dream – “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” Movie Review
By: Debbie Waltz
Welcome Back, Readers~
As many of you know, it is a dream of mine to travel to Paris someday. Maybe it’s romantic, but I’ve always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see the perspective from the top – because it is only accessible by the steps. Still, one can dream. Like in the movie, “Mrs. Harris goes to Paris.” my dream is finally coming true; I will visit Paris as part of a cruise with my family next year.
As much as I enjoyed the movie for its fashion insights and entertainment value, I couldn’t help but relate to the plight of Mrs. Harris. Played by Leslie Manville, Mrs. Ada Harris is a hard-working cleaning lady trying to make a living in the 1950s. She lives a small life and is willing to help a client get dressed for an audition or suspend pay another week-which, making her feel invisible. That is, until she spies one of Christian Dior’s dresses in one of her employer’s houses and is determined to go to Paris and buy one of her own just in time for the Legion ball…
That should certainly get her noticed, right?
Thanks to Eddie’s unexpected war pension and some other “GodWinks “(from above), Mrs. Harris takes the lead and flies to Paris. Upon arrival, she realizes how unprepared she is; Not only did she forget to arrange hotel and transportation accommodations, but Christian Dior is only for specific “wealthier” clientele with money or connections. Only when she shows she can afford a dress can a widowed man, Marquise de Chassagne (played by Lambert Wilson), take “pity” on her to sit by him. While waiting for the show to begin, Ada introduces herself, and the two soon bonds, realizing they both have suffered the loss of a loved one. Even backstage, models like Natasha (played by Alba Baptista) are all abuzz because of the “lady off the street” coming from London.
After the show, Ada is disappointed to find out that the dress she really wanted -“Temptation” is spoken for. Christian Dior only makes dresses individually; therefore, ensuring that all dresses are one-of-a-kind. Rather than go home empty-handed, Ada purchases her second favorite, “Venus,”; only to realize that each dress takes 1 to 2 weeks in alterations. Sensing Mrs. Harris’ predicament and wanting to repay her kindness of racing to bring her purse, Natasha offers a potential solution-persuading the seamstress team to work overtime to complete her alterations in one week. With the alterations dilemma solved, Mrs. Harris wonders where she can stay in the interim. A commission on the line, Mr. Fauvel (Lucas Bravo), offers to have Mrs. Harris stay in the room above him.
During her stay in Paris, things began to change. Not only does she see herself as part of a community among the “Dior” family, but she develops feelings for Marquise in their brief encounters together as he plays the role of tour guide. Seeing sparks between Natasha and Mr. Fauvel, she also plays matchmaker for them. After a long night on the town, Mrs. Harris misses a fitting for progress, and Mrs. Colbert and the measurer refuse to continue with alterations-citing. She does not respect their time. Rejected, one girl offers Ada a last look behind the scenes before she leaves. It is then that she learns the Dior family could be in trouble- the company is not as well-off as they seem. And Ada pitches in sewing buttons on fabric. In return, the girls wish to keep working on Mrs. Harris’ dress.
To keep everyone happy, Mrs. Colbert agrees. Although she questions where Mrs. Harris will wear the dress – since she’s “no one” special; As if on cue, she gets flowers from Marquise and an invitation to come to tea. She is ecstatic, thinking he is in love with her, but comes to find out his fascination with her is because Mrs. Harris reminds him of a former maid.
Dejected, she returns home with the dress. A short time later, there is a knock at the door, and Pamela Penrose (played by Rose Williams) needs her advice. She has to go to a party and has nothing to wear. Upset, Mrs. Harris realizes she is not fit to wear the dress and resizes it to work with her friend.
I won’t spoil the ending for those who want to see the movie yourself. Except an unfortunate accident occurs with the dress, which goes to press. This movie shows the power of community and how important it is to have confidence.