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Mrs Harris Goes To Paris film review: The film both celebrates haute couture and dissects it -Newzflash

The cast of Mrs Harris Goes To Paris: Leslie Manville, Isabelle Huppert, Jason Isaacs, Lambert Wilson, Alba Baptista, Lucas Bravo
Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris film director: Anthony Fabian
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris movie review: 2.5 stars

In a pivotal moment in this skeletal hanger of a film, Mrs. Harris (Leslie Manville) is given a tour of the studio at the House of Dior in Paris. One room is for cutting, another for sewing, and so on and so forth, oohs and aahs filling the lack of precision in putting into words what so many women in unfailingly white clothes and coats do with the many scraps of fabric .

This film by director Anthony Fabian is something like that, after a fashion – a lot of different things that hope to be assembled into a wholesome piece of couture. And if Christian Dior still comes out smelling of roses and riches, the women the French designer loved to dress are getting the shabby end of the bargain.

None worse than Mrs. Harris herself, who is, of course, a devoted war widow, plus a cheerful house cleaner, plus an ill-treated worker, plus a loyal friend – one of the “invisible women” whom men let their dogs see with . after as they take the dance floor with someone else. So can someone like her, past her prime, dream an impossible dream?

But that’s not what the film is about. It’s not something Mrs. Harris does, but a few strange strokes of luck that give her money to take a trip to Paris to buy her dream dress from Dior – like the one she saw in an employer’s wardrobe. Then pure kindness paves the way for her to that fashion house and beyond, as the highly intelligent and excellent actor Manville is forced to use the full force of his talents to ensure that Mrs. Harris is no more unsavory than the story is.

It’s 1957, the WWII blues are fading, luxury is back even though workers are on strike, and the streets of Paris are littered with trash. At this point, the Dior staff apparently see in Mrs Harris glimpses of someone like them – mere cogs in a system. So is that why they open their homes and hearts and offices to her?

But that’s not what the film is about either. After a brief scene where excited staff comment on her situation, a completely unnecessary love story shot off, of course, takes over the lovely lady from London.

Dior is luxury that not everyone can afford – rather, it actively counters the horror that everyone can afford it. But is that enough to love it? Or alternatively condemn it?

No, that’s not what the film is about either. A chance to showcase clothes as less than the person wearing them, but also an acquisition that forever made a man and woman, is wasted in a confused mish-mash guilty of both celebrating haute couture and dissing it.

Having appeared in a completely opposite role to this in a film also about high fashion, Phantom Thread, Manville alone proudly wears her whole honest self on her sleeve – whether that sleeve belongs to her off-the-rack dowdy cardigan, or made to -berry Dior ‘Temptation’.

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