Dreams are always in fashion
Published 8:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2022
By Evan Fitch
This week at Tryon Theatre, take a step back in time and hop across the pond, with “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” (Fabian 2022). This film provides a much-needed respite from such weightier narratives, telling a warmly earnest, light, and infinitely charming story.
The titular Mrs. Harris (the lovely Leslie Manville) is a widowed cleaning lady in 1957 London, earning a living in the homes of the elite, and leading a lonely life when a happenstance encounter of an haute coutoure Dior dress spurs her into the starry-eyed pursuit of a dream: owning such a dress for herself.
While the seemingly simplistic and materialistic catalyst of owning a dress could appear shallow, the film tells a deeper and more universally relatable story. Mrs. Harris is a relentlessly optimistic and compassionate character, injecting humanity and empathy into every situation, and bringing it out in each character around her. The film’s appeal is not only credited to Harris’s ever-endearing personal qualities, though. The credit also goes to the narrative: showcasing the unimpeachable merit of pursuing dreams, at any age in life, and the invaluable lessons and experiences to be gained in that pursuit.
This delightful film is an adaptation of the equally charming (and more colloquially titled) “Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris.” As an adaptation over 60 years distant from its source material, this film is remarkably fidelitous, changing very little of the characters or plot in its transition from page to screen. A lifetime later, an audience in the modern day can find the same empathy with Mrs. Harris’s cinematic story as the readers did respectively with her written story.
“Mrs. Harris” touches upon a distinctly nuanced subsection in the spectrum of films about chasing dreams. It tells a story of pursuing one’s dreams later in life, past the point of youthful exploration when society encourages dreaming.
Far too often adulthood comes not only at the expense of toil and responsibility but also at the expense of dreaming. We are taught that if one does not have the fortune of both identifying and achieving dreams in youth, then the merit of dreaming is lost. “Mrs. Harris” challenges this defeatist notion, making an impassioned argument for the invigorating and transportive quality of dreaming, no matter how late in life the dream is identified, or how insurmountable the odds of achieving it may be.