Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris isn’t just one of the best films of the year, but it’s a story that will stay with many people for a lifetime. It’s dazzling, tender, and brimming with unceasing hope at every corner. It’s a story about the importance of believing in our dreams, but it’s also a quiet tribute that focuses on the significance of finding someone who sees us for all we are. And though it emerges in the backdrop of the primary track, Andre and Natasha’s love story is a memorable piece of the story, which the film wouldn’t be the same without.
To make the invisible visible. Natasha is anything but invisible, yet the parts of her she wants to be seen for are parts she’s forced to hide as a model at Dior. That is until Mrs. Harris enters the picture and starts to see her as a girl whose dreams look different from the confines she’s currently in. It’s then through Mrs. Harris and the glances Andre steals as she walks over in the white dress that tells us he does too. We know from that moment that though his infatuation could be toward her physical beauty (as everyone’s is), there’s a pull much deeper he has yet to decipher.
Through the awkward string of conversations where he stumbles at the sight of her and the moments brought on by an understanding that he cannot ever be someone she chooses. A quiet romance then stirs in the gentle corners—unplanned dinners and accidental run-ins that thrust them forward. Mrs. Harris sees all this, believing with full conviction that Natasha would not only give Andre a chance, but the two would be great together. Thus, she tries to thrust the relationship forward while following her dreams.
Life might not be moonlight and movies, but romance often requires a choice, and as Mrs. Harris continues to probe, Andre’s eventual courage becomes a direct result of her influence. He chooses to push back initially, yes, but that final conversation is precisely what makes Andre and Natasha’s relationship a quietly poignant romance.
Further, telling her to stay in Paris with him is one thing, but reminding her of the fact that he sees her for all that she is and everything she wants to be is where their story matters. There’s something achingly romantic yet selfish and selfless at the same time about telling someone to stay. Perhaps the world’s greatest paradox when it comes to romance. But we so often forget in situations like this that Natasha could have said no.
Declarations like this make the romance genre as memorable as they are because they cement the detail that characters A and B see one another in ways no one else does. There’s always a choice. He tells her to stay, but she could’ve chosen not to if she didn’t want to be with him. He asks her to stay after kissing her, and her first response isn’t even about studying Philosophy; it’s about the job she walked out from. Still, his response reiterates she could still follow her dreams even if she didn’t move away, searching for herself in the lost corners of the world.
Allowing the audience to hear Andre’s words in the background while they fade from view also tells us that when the curtains close and the credits roll, this romance will continue. He isn’t putting up a front for Mrs. Harris or anyone else. He understands and sees Natasha’s unhappiness, which allows him to support her however she needs. In this case, that support means staying behind at Dior while she studies and expands her knowledge. They prove through this exchange that they’ll be beside each other beyond the magic of the afterglow.
And so, the final glimpse we get with him picking her up from a study session, heart eyes fully intact, is everything we need to understand that Andre and Natasha’s romance is genuine and lasting. Sometimes, people need to pack up their bags and chase the desires in their hearts far away from the place they once considered home. Other times, what (and who) they’re looking for has been pining for them all along.
This romance might not be a piece that sticks out for every viewer. However, if you’re anything like me and the art of human connections sparks something inexplicable in you, then there’s a high chance you also left the movie adoring every ounce of this tiny yet touching love story. There’s a high chance you still want more despite how gorgeously the story’s told and what a breathtaking theme they have in the soundtrack’s “Shut Up And Kiss Me.”
For more on Andre and Natasha, check out Focus Features’ interview with stars Lucas Bravo and Alba Baptista.