Movie Reviews

Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris: Where You've Seen The Cast Before

Content Warning: The following article contains a discussion of sexual assault.

Spoilers for Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris

Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris opened in theatres on July 15, 2022. Based on the classic 1958 novel by Paul Gallico, this colorful and sweet romantic comedy features a diverse cast of talented British and French actors who fit well in the mid-century period London and Paris settings.

Many of the actors have familiar faces, having been featured in a wide array of both TV and film, from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to The Matrix Reloaded.  There are several other sequel books, so perhaps the cast will have the opportunity to reunite if a sequel film is planned.

Lesley Manville is known for roles in such recent films as Maleficent and Phantom Thread and will soon be featured as Princess Margaret in the new season of The Crown. One of Manville’s most famous film roles is Mary in Another Year.

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Like Manville’s Ada Harris in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Mary is an unhappy, older, single woman who pretends to be more cheerful than she is. Unlike Ada, Mary never gets a happy ending and ends up still lonely. Another similarity is that both characters take vacation trips that don’t turn out exactly as they expect, with Mary going to Brighton and Ada going to Paris. The difference is that things eventually work out for Ada, while Mary’s car breaks down before she can get to Brighton and she has a miserable time.

Some may recognize Ellen Thomas’s voice from her role as Hecatae’s Mother in Audible’s The Sandman audio drama. But she is most known for her long-running role on the British soap opera Eastenders as Claudette Hubbard.

Thomas’s Claudette Hubbard is much less sympathetic than her role as Vi Butterfield. While Vi is a supportive best friend to Ada, Claudette is vindictive, murdered her husband, and lies to her son for years that he was killed by his father’s rival. The only likable aspect of Claudette is how she fostered and cared for many children and kept Les Coker’s alter ego a secret to protect him.

Rose Williams is currently featured as Symone in spaghetti western That Dirty Black Bag on AMC+. But she is best known for her role as Charlotte Heywood in the series based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, Sanditon.

William’s Charlotte Heywood and Pamela Penrose are both spirited young English women in the past. However, Charlotte is much less ditsy and more intelligent than Pamela. The two characters are also from different places and eras in England’s past. Charlotte goes to Sanditon, a seaside resort in the 1800s and Pamela is living in London in the 1950s. They also have different professions, Charlotte is an eventual governess, while Pamela is an actress.

BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee Jason Isaacs has played many villainous roles, from Captain Hook to the Skeksis Emperor in The Dark Crystal series. But his most renowned is Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

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Isaacs’ Lucius Malfoy and Archie are total opposites to each other. Lucius is a proud, wealthy, evil, and aristocratic wizard who is intolerant of those who aren’t pure blood. Archie is a kind-hearted working man. The only thing in common Lucius and Archie have is that they show genuine love, Lucius with his wife Narcissa and Archie with Ada.

Anna Chancellor may be recognizable as Miss Bingley from the popular 1995 series adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and is also featured with William as Hellen in That Dirty Black Bag. One of Chancellor’s most noteworthy performances was Lix Storm on the Emmy-winning series The Hour.

Chancellor’s Lix Storm is much more likable and sympathetic than Lady Dant. Lix is an intelligent photographer and journalist who cares about her coworkers, while Lady Dant is a snobbish, upper-class society woman who refuses to pay Mrs. Harris for her services. Lix also gets an emotional subplot in season 2 where she and Randall (played by Doctor Who‘s Peter Capaldi) search for their daughter they gave up for adoption during the Spanish Civil War.

Isabelle Huppert is an award-winning French actress who has starred in various French and English-language films since the 1970s. One of her most recent notable roles was Michèle in the 2016 French thriller Elle (directed by Paul Verhoeven), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Michèle and Claudine Colbert are both successful sympathetic working women with hard-edge roles for Huppert. Michèle is the head of a video game company who is raped and tries to track down the perpetrator herself, often by questionable means such as hacking into all her employee’s home computers. Claudine is a seemingly icy and exclusionary high-ranking employee of Dior who is secretly taking care of her dying husband.

Alba Baptista has been featured in several series in her native Portugal. Her first English-language part was Ava in Warrior Nun, for which she was nominated for Best Actress at the Golden Globes, Portugal.

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Baptista’s Ava and Natasha are both young women who feel out of place in their current circumstances. Ava is sheltered and has just acquired special powers. She is overwhelmed by the war between Heaven and Hell that she is pushed into, and hated by the Order of the Cruciform Sword, which is meant to help her. Natasha is the face of Dior, but is uncomfortable with all the glamour and would rather be studying philosophy.

One of French actor Lucas Bravo’s most recent roles is Gabriel in the romance series Emily in Paris, in which he embarked on a romance with the eponymous protagonist.

Bravo’s Gabriel and André Fauvel are both young men in romantic relationships in Paris. However, there are some differences. For instance, Gabriel is from the modern day while André is from the 1950s. Gabriel is an aspiring chef and André is an accountant for Dior.  Gabriel is easily jealous when Emily flirts with someone else despite him already being in a relationship, but André is shy and uncertain around Natasha.

French actor Lambert Wilson is currently featured in the current cold war Amazon Prime spy series Totems. But for many, Wilson is best recognized as Merovingian in the film The Matrix Reloaded.

Wilson’s Merovingian and Marquis de Chassagne are both upper-class gentlemen with French accents, of a sort. Merovingian is a computer program that merely takes the appearance of an upper-class French gentleman, has few morals, and is a total hedonist who used to be noble. The Marquis de Chassagne is an aristocratic Frenchman who shows kindness and romantic intentions to Ada, however, he still shows some ignorance as he still views her first and foremost as a cleaner.

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