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  • Writer's pictureLarissa Reinhart

Why I Liked Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

A throwback to comedic movies in the fifties, taking place in the fifties!

Mrs. Harris, a widowed cleaning lady living in 1950s London, takes on the House of Dior in this lovely story starring Leslie Manville. The themes of overcoming class distinctions through upbeat determination and optimism reminded me so much of Unsinkable Molly Brown that it would not surprise me if this Mrs. Harris becomes a musical (unless it already is). The movie was based on the book Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris, from a series of books about the adventures of a London charwoman, by Paul Gallico (1958).

If you love fashion, watch it for the gorgeous gowns. If you love movies that are upbeat, light, and uncomplicated, this is the movie for you. It is pure escapist enjoyment. Leslie Manville's winsome Mrs. Harris is a delight. She's in love with a couture Dior gown and must have it for no good reason whatsoever (other than she wants one), and who can blame her? She hasn't much else after losing her husband in WWII, except her self-respect, her friends, and an indefatigable optimism that is missing in much of today's heroines.

I grew up watching movies from the forties, fifties, and sixties. (I grew up without cable or satellite). I miss the elegance of matching coats, hats, shoes, gloves, and pocketbooks (not that you can tell from my wardrobe of t-shirts and leggings). This movie's all about the feel-goods. The story arc isn't about shocks or twists. It's there to serve her story with simple universal themes. It stays light and airy like the billowing skirts on the beautiful Dior gowns.

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