Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

image for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Short takes

Not suitable under 9; parental guidance to 10 (themes, language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
  • a review of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 November 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 9 Not suitable due to themes and language.
Children aged 9–10 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and language.
Children over the age of 10 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Occasional mild coarse language
Length: 116 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Hardworking Mrs. Harris (Lesley Manville) is a wonderful cleaner who takes pride in her work and lives a frugal life in London while hoping and praying for her husband’s return from the war. When she finally finds the courage to open a letter and learns that her husband has died, it seems, for a moment, that all her hopes for happiness have died with him. While cleaning the house of a wealthy Lady who routinely fails to pay her wages, Mrs. Harris comes across the most beautiful dress she has ever seen. She soon learns that it is a Christian Dior, that it costs a small fortune and that she must have one for herself. Determined to do more than merely just dream of the dress, Mrs. Harris sets out to save enough to buy one. Doing extra cleaning work, walking instead of riding the bus and taking on sewing jobs, she saves every penny she can. When she receives a surprise visit from an officer who tells her she is entitled to years of war widow back pay, she feels that it is a gift from her husband who is helping her find a way to get to France and find the dress of her dreams. In Paris, a Christian Dior fashion show is underway and, after making a scene about the injustice of being treated unfairly in front of the high class clientele, Mrs. Harris is invited by a Marquis to watch the show as his guest. Here she falls in love with a gorgeous gown but is prevented from having it by a vindictive woman who was offended by having to sit next to someone from a lower class. Meanwhile, word of Mrs. Harris has travelled through the House of Christian Dior and all the saleswomen, models, seamstresses and employees are honoured, amazed and inspired by the courage of a woman who saved every penny to buy a dress meant only for those with excessive money, who refused to be cast aside and who, even when treated poorly, showed nothing but kindness and calm. While waiting for her dress to be fitted and sewn Mrs. Harris weaves her magic on all those around her. She helps the accountant, Andre (Lucas Bravo), who offers her a room to stay in, and the brilliant model, Natasha (Alba Baptista), who longs to be seen as more than just the face of Dior, find love where they least expect it. It is Mrs. Harris's dream that brings her to Paris but she returns home with so much more than a dress. Along the way she begins to believe that anything is possible, she wins the respect and admiration of some of the most influential and important people in Paris, and she shows the world that no kind deed ever goes unrewarded.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Societal segregation in relation to class; Vanity; Being seen only as you outwardly appear and not for who you truly are.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Mrs. Harris is told how her husband was killed during the war.
  • A taxi driver nearly knocks a man off his bike and almost collides with a motorcycle in his haste to get where he is going.
  • A character smashes a widow to get into Mrs. Harris’s house and check to see if she is ok.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • The entire film revolves around Haute Couture and the House of Christian Dior.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A man (whose house Mrs. Harris cleans) is daily having young women leave his home. He introduces them as his nieces but it is obvious that is not the case.
  • The same man says of Mrs Harris that: “She is the soul of discretion. You would never know she has been but for the polish on my knobs”. His lady friend is momentarily scandalised by the comment.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Mrs. Harris is taken to a show where the women strip down to tiny black panties with fishnet tights and skimpy brassieres with tassels on the front. They provocatively dance with shirtless men on stage.
  • Natasha kisses a famous actor.
  • Andre and Natasha kiss.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Characters drink in a pub.
  • Some homeless men offer Mrs Harris a drink from a bottle in a paper bag. She initially declines but then decides to try it.
  • Champagne is served in a restaurant and characters have drinks with dinner.
  • Mrs. Harris goes out for an evening with the Marquis and, after numerous drinks, wakes up the next morning completely hung over.
  • A character offers Mrs Harris red wine and another shares a drink with her on the stairs.
  • Some characters smoke.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Blimey
  • Stupid cretin
  • Idiot
  • Ass
  • Bloody
  • Reference is made to: “When it all goes tits up”.

In a nutshell

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is a comedy drama set in 1950’s Paris. It is a charming, well cast film with plenty of positive messages about the power of dreams, the importance of self-respect and the value of being seen, especially when you are often invisible. The film will best be enjoyed by mature audiences or families with older children.

The main messages from this movie are that even those who are invisible have dreams; that some dreams are more powerful than fairy tales; and that the world needs dreamers now more than ever.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Kindness
  • Industriousness
  • Self-respect
  • Assertiveness
  • Compassion
  • Friendship.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Treating people poorly because of their job or social standing.
  • Putting too much emphasis on material things.
  • Looking only at the outside of a person, at what they look like or what they wear, and not seeing them for who they truly are.
  • Accepting drinks from a stranger.