Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Queerguru reviews MRS HARRIS GOES TO PARIS with a pitch perfect performance by Lesley Manville


Sometimes the rest of the (film) world takes time to catch up with what we Brits have known for years. Actress Lesley Manville is one such case.  A favorite of Mike Leigh in all his ensemble movies ….. and picked up awards for appearing in his Another Year. And although her resume is jampacked with great performances it wasn’t until Focus Features had her co-star in Phantom Thread with Daniel Day-Lewis in 2017 that people really started noticing her,  Including the Academy Awards who nominated for  Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

Now she is finally the ‘star’ in another Focus Feature film “Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris” and gets top billing even over Isabelle Huppert.   The movie is an adaptation of a Paul Gallico novel that has already been filmed twice before for TV as star vehicles for Gracie Fields (1952) and Angela Lansbury (1992).  But unlike her two predecessors, Manville’s finely nuanced performance as the London char/cleaning woman avoids falling into the trap of making her a larger-than-life cockney caricature.   She ensures that this cute-as-hell fairy story is very relatable and makes for such a thoroughly entertaining tale. 

The setting is 1952 and London is still recovering from World War II with many items still rationed and in short supply.  In this class-ridden society, there are two sets of rules that naturally favor the wealthy upper-class.  Whereas Mrs. Harris (Lesley Manville)  has to take on several jobs just to make ends meet, one of her employers Lady Dant (Anna Chancellor) spares no expense on herself.  She is buying Dior Couture gowns for £500 a time yet keeps putting off paying Mrs. Harris her very meager wages.

Mrs. Harris however is a dreamer and falls in love with the Dior dress and confides in her best friend and fellow cleaning lady VI (Ellen Thomas) that she wants one for herself.  We see her scrimping and saving every single penny and even has a windfall from the sad news that her missing husband;’s body has been found and she is entitled to a war widow pension.

We know from the beginning as this is a dream come true story that Mrs. Harris will indeed make it to the French Capital,  but we are unprepared for the effect she has on the very effected snobby crew at Dior.  But it all makes for such a  charming story of how this working-class woman with her very straightforward attitude to life suddenly becomes a role model for nearly all the people she encounters.  Including M. Dior himself.

The movie was directed and co-written by award-winning filmmaker Anthony Fabian (Skin)  and is a cut above the usual feel-good movies thanks to the very non-showy performance by  Manville.  The camera really does love her ….. as do we too,



Review : Roger Walker-Dack

Editor in Chief : Queerguru 
Member of G.A.L.E.C.A. (Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association) and NLGJA The Association of LGBT 
Journalists. and The Online Film Critics Society. Ex Contributung Editor The Gay Uk & Contributor Edge Media 
Former CEO and Menswear Designer of  Roger Dack Ltd in the UK    
one of the hardest-working journalists in the business' Michael Goff of Towleroad

Posted by queerguru  at  14:03

Genres:  comedy, dramedy

Follow queerguru

Search This Blog

View queertiques By: