Enola Holmes - Review
As the younger sister of Sherlock, Enola Holmes proves that girls still have thrilling & entertaining stories to tell - and their own cases to crack.
SEPTEMBER 23rd, 2020
Director: Harry Bradbeer | Cert: PG | Runtime: 2h 3m
here to begin?” says Millie Bobby Brown’s Enola Holmes, in the first few seconds of the film titled after the unknown sister of the acclaimed detective Sherlock. It’s a pretty proficient question to begin with, as there is a lot to unpack from Netflix’s new and impressive movie, which Brown not only stars in, but produces too. But if Enola Holmes leaves audiences with any message, it is that girls have stories to tell too.
Based on the book by Nancy Springer, the film adaptation follows the similar tone and texture of any past Sherlock Holmes series, yet the result feels different. Family-friendly and sweet, there is an undercurrent of feminism which pushes the plotline along, and yet never suffocates it. That particular element is showcased through Enola’s mother (Helena Bonham Carter), a valiantly feminist parent who her daughter is striving to emulate. It is her vanishing act which sets the entire story moving, and at alarming pace.
Moments after the movie begins the audience is thrust into Enola’s (which spells ‘alone’ backwards) world, and also her brothers, Sherlock – played by a stoic Henry Cavill, and Mycroft – Sam Claflin offering a more pantomimic take as the oldest Holmes sibling. It is a world where the expectation of women is low, structured and fits neatly into a box – everything Enola isn’t.
Naturally, Enola drives the story forward and Millie Bobby Brown excels in the role. Her charismatic and instinctive performance is wonderful to watch, and her cutaway scenes – breaking the fourth wall – are perfectly timed and delivered. Her relationship with Louis Partridge (who plays Lord Tewksbury, another lost soul) – is entertaining and natural. Henry Cavill is phenomenal as Sherlock Holmes and he expertly balances the genius of the detective, with an element of humanity and warmth. Sam Claflin is frustratingly and brilliantly short-sighted as Mycroft, impeccably showcasing the stubbornness of the character.
Like with any Holmes’s story, the twists and turns are unexpected and continue to hit just at the right time. However, there are some elements of the plotline which occasionally feel rushed and occasionally create a disjointed journey throughout the movie.
Daniel Pemberton’s animated score infuses an atmosphere of familiarity, of good-humoured fun and playfulness, which has its heart in the right place – similarly to Enola. The cinematography is outstanding and expertly emphasises the movie’s quintessential Britishness, which in itself is a star of the movie.
Beneath the surface, Enola Holmes focuses on a young girl stepping into a male-dominated world as a woman determined to prove she is more than what society expects her to be. With every on-the-nose punchline and telling glance to the camera, Millie Bobby Brown has broken a mould with an ingenious character who can stand up alone against her older and more “famous” bother. She can fight, she is cunning, she is smart and ambitious – she is Enola Holmes. Here’s hoping that in the future there is something – much more – afoot.
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