John Maguire: Manville is the perfect fit for a middle-aged Cinderella fantasy

A mainstay of Mike Leigh’s ensemble casts since the 1980s, the long-time character actor grabs her chance to play the lead in this post-war movie with both hands

Lesley Manville as kind-hearted, no-nonsense cleaning lady Ada Harris in Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, a post-war movie set in London and Paris

Lesley Manville’s fashion snob Cyril Woodcock, impeccably chilly sister to and manager of Daniel Day-Lewis’s Reynolds in Phantom Thread, would be aghast at the same actor’s turn as Ada Harris, a sweet-hearted, no-nonsense cleaning lady in post-war London whose dogged determination and sincere optimism takes her from scrubbing floors to the sophisticated atelier of Christian Dior.

A disarmingly gorgeous and wistfully played fashion fantasy, adapted by director Anthony Fabian from Paul Gallico’s popular 1958 novel, ...