Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris Parent Guide
This sweet and charming film is a fairy tale but it's also a battle cry for women of a certain age who feel overlooked and disregarded.
Parent Movie Review
For Ada Harris (Lesley Manville), a widowed cleaning lady in 1950s London, it’s love at first sight. Once she gazes on a gown her aristocratic employer purchased in Paris, Ada is enraptured. The dress is a pastel confection covered with crystals and elaborately appliqued flowers – and buying her own Dior dress becomes the overarching motivation of Ada’s life.
Achieving her new goal is going to be a problem. Haute couture Dior dresses easily cost £500, and the average wage in England is £10 a week. Ada’s irrepressible optimism and determination are not going to be dampened by harsh realities though. Instead of abandoning her impossible dream, Ada tightens her budget, takes on extra work, and even (gulp) gambles on the races. With some ups, downs, and unexpected good luck, Ada soon finds herself on the plane to Paris.
Ada and the House of Dior are completely unprepared for each other. Ada is unaware that a Dior dress cannot be bought off the rack but requires weeks of custom fittings. And the Dior staff are not accustomed to catering to cleaning ladies (even those who carry cash). As Ada’s innate kindness and helpfulness impress everyone she meets in Paris, the universe begins to arrange itself around her, with magical results.
If you’re planning to see Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, be sure to leave your cynicism at home. This isn’t a movie about how the world really works: it’s a story about how we wish it worked. It’s a fairy tale for adults, but instead of a cinderwench becoming a princess when she dons a magical dress and marries a prince, this cleaning lady comes to value her innate worth, separate from either her designer gown or the men around her. This is a battle cry for “invisible women” – women of a certain age who are overlooked and disregarded – reclaiming their right to be seen and heard and valued.
If you’re looking for a happy film that will make you feel good about the world and the people in it, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is the movie for you. The tone is relentlessly upbeat, most characters are hospitable and well-intentioned, and goodness is appropriately rewarded. For the most part, content issues are also minor, with a little swearing and a bit too much drinking. There are only two issues that viewers are likely to object to: scenes that appear to endorse gambling and a dance number at a cabaret where the women strip down to panties and bras. The underwear provides fairly good coverage (there is no explicit nudity) but the bras feature tassels, which makes the dances feel more risqué.
Thankfully, the rest of the movie’s wardrobe is beyond criticism. In fact, the film’s fashions are one of the best reasons to buy a ticket to the show. Brilliantly replicating and re-imagining Dior’s New Look styles, this production is a feast for anyone who loves fashion. Mixing beautiful clothes with a sweet story and charming characters lets us all enjoy a stylish and hopeful escape.Directed by Anthony Fabian. Starring Lesley Manville, Jason Isaacs, and Rose Williams. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release July 15, 2022. Updated July 15, 2022
Watch the trailer for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Rating & Content Info
Why is Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris rated PG? Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is rated PG by the MPAA for suggestive material, language, and smoking.
Violence: A worried man uses a hammer to break into a house to check on someone; he repairs the damage. A woman deliberately flips her fur stole into someone’s face.
Sexual Content: Men and women kiss. There are scenes of women wearing low cut clothes that expose cleavage. Models are frequently seen in their underwear as they change clothes or model clothes that are being sewn. Characters attend a cabaret where the dancers strip down to panties and bras with pasties. (The clothes still provide moderate coverage and there is no explicit nudity.) A slang term for women’s breasts is used.
Profanity: There are just over half a dozen terms of deity in the script.
Alcohol / Drug Use: People drink alcohol with meals and in social situations. It is implied that a main character is mildly intoxicated and the hungover. Adults are briefly seen smoking, as was historically accurate.
Page last updated July 15, 2022
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris Parents' Guide
Why does Ada want a Dior dress so badly? What does she plan to do with such a dress when she finally gets one? What happens to her dress? What does this tell you about Ada? What does Ada learn about herself through her experience with the House of Dior? How does Ada change the lives of people around her?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris was a novel written by Paul Gallico in 1958. He also wrote sequels, including Mrs. Harris Goes to New York, Mrs. Harris, MP, and Mrs. Harris Goes to Moscow. Other well loved books by Mr. Gallico include The Snow Goose, Scruffy, The Small Miracle, and Coronation.
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