3.5 / 5 Globes
One of Netflix’s latest releases, “Enola Holmes” tells the story of Sherlock Holmes’ little sister, and it is based on a series of young adult books by Nancy Springer.
The film adaptation, directed by Harry Bradbeer, stars Millie Bobby Brown of “Stranger Things” fame as the 16-year-old Enola Holmes. Brown also produced the film. Henry Cavill, AKA Superman, AKA The Witcher plays Sherlock Holmes.
The film follows Enola, a budding young detective herself, as she works to track down her mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), after she goes missing. However, she must overcome challenges thrown at her by her oldest brother, Mycroft (Sam Claflin), who insists that she attend a finishing school to become a “proper lady.” She also encounters the young Viscount Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), who she decides to help protect as he is being tracked down by nefarious figures and a detective hired by his mother after he runs away from home.
“Enola Holmes” does well to convey the somewhat fantastical traits and mystery that surrounds Sherlock Holmes, as well as taking itself seriously as a period piece. The film is set in Victorian-era England, and everything from the filming locations to the costumes appears to be authentic. The film also features themes of female-empowerment, as both Enola and her mother defy societal norms for women, and, in the case of Eudoria, even participate in the women’s suffrage movement.
Do not let this film’s PG-13 rating be a deterrence. “Enola Holmes” is fun, adventurous and appropriate for the whole family. The film’s rating doesn’t really make a lot of sense.
Brown stands out in her role and does the character of Enola sufficient justice in her first on-screen portrayal. Cavill does the iconic role of Sherlock Holmes well, even if his performance is somewhat forgettable; this may be in order to make Enola truly shine as the featured Holmes sibling. Claflin does an excellent job in his portrayal of Mycroft Holmes, a stuffy, old-fashioned oldest brother that viewers will love to despise. And Bonham Carter is the perfect casting decision to play the eccentric and aloof matriarch, Eudoria.
Overall, “Enola Holmes” is a pretty light-hearted watch, perfect for a leisurely weekend morning or a relaxing weekday evening. The film, however, is not one that relentlessly grabs your attention. At times, the film lulls, but it is easy to get back into after it loses your attention. Some of the film’s themes, such as the importance of forging one’s own path, were also somewhat generic. Also, Enola also serves as the film’s narrator, often breaking the fourth wall Ferris Bueller-style to address the audience directly. This can be jarring at times, cheesy at others.
However, “Enola Holmes” is earnest in its approach, and Brown is an incredibly clever protagonist. This film sets up an interesting universe, and it sets itself up for a future, as it’s not hard to imagine a franchise surrounding Enola.
“Enola Holmes” is well worth the watch and is a refreshing take on the classic detective tales of Sherlock Holmes.