Ever since Enola Holmes was announced, there has been a constant buzz around it. Of course, with Henry Cavill slated to play Sherlock Holmes, the excitement is natural. Based on The Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer, the film revolves around Sherlock Holmes’ teenaged sister who becomes a detective in her own right.
But does the movie do justice to the famous Holmes name?
1. Quick Review
A pleasant watch for a lazy day, Enola Holmes will amuse only those who can leave their nit-picking habits behind.
2. Series and Info Links
Enola HolmesAir Date: September 23, 2020 Status: Finished Studio: Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros Pictures
3. Is It Worth Watching?
A light and breezy film with engaging performances from the cast.
Enola Holmes is a young girl who lives with her mother Eudoria. The two are incredibly close and spend most of their time together.
Unlike the typical mothers of Victorian society, Eudora does not confine Enola’s activities to simple gender roles. Under her tutelage, Enola learns archery, chess and jujitsu. But more importantly, she learns to use her brain to solve little mysteries.
Before long, Enola finds an opportunity to test her mystery-solving powers. One morning, she finds that her mother has disappeared from their house. She calls her brothers Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective, and Mycroft Holmes for their sleuthing skills.
But her brothers, especially Mycroft, are disenchanted by her ‘wild child’ attitude. Rather than helping her look for their mother, they send her to a strict finishing school.
Not one to be subdued, Enola escapes from school after finding some clues left by her mother. She decides to pursue the case herself.
On a train to London, she meets Viscount Tewkesbury, a young boy who is being chased by some goons who want to kill him.
The two escape from the men trying to kill them and reach London.
But Enola is now embroiled in two mysteries: where her mother disappeared to and why a few people want to kill her and the Viscount.
As she investigates, she gets closer to the solution but will she ever be able to solve it without her brothers? And when she does find out, will she like what she finds?
II. Detailed Analysis
Enola Holmes is an enjoyable movie-only if the viewers get rid of certain preconceived notions about the movie.
First and foremost, it is not a film about Sherlock Holmes. Although Henry Cavill as Sherlock did excite many fans and people wanted to see what he did with the character, the film, like its name suggests, revolves around Enola. There isn’t as much Sherlock as fans of the veteran detective would want.
Since Enola Holmes is not a Sherlock Holmes film, it is wrong to expect it to live up to the standards of the Holmes’ stories, mystery-wise. The mystery is not too complex or as mind-boggling in Enola Holmes.
Instead, Enola Holmes is a sweet story of a girl growing up to realize her potential, beyond the binds of the suffocating, gender-specific norms of Victorian England. Her realization comes through solving a mystery in true Holmes style.
Although the setting of the film is Victorian England, some may find historical inaccuracies in the narrative of the film. This compromise on accuracy was probably made to suit the undertones of the film.
It cannot be denied that Enola Holmes definitely has a feministic side to it. While that is a welcome feature in recent movies, this film often dumbs down the male characters or makes them uncharacteristically unhelpful and rude. Since some of the male characters in Enola Holmes are Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, icons who have a huge following in literature and pop culture history, this deliberate oversimplification seems nothing more than an insult.
Millie Bobby Brown is definitely the star of the film. Her bubbly, cheerful nature fits the slightly boisterous character of Enola like a glove. Her acting throughout the film is the only thing that will keep the viewers’ minds from wandering off in the slightly boring middle part of the film.
Henry Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes is not like the original Sherlock Holmes. He is more connected to his emotional side-which is a big departure from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.
The case is similar for Mycroft Holmes. Enola Holmes’ Mycroft is essentially an antagonist to Millie Bobby Brown’s character. His puritan nature in the movie is very far from the original Mycroft Holmes. In the books, Sherlock went to his brother for help sometimes which indicates that Mycroft was smarter than his more famous brother. None of that is seen in Enola Holmes.
5. Final Thoughts
Whether or not one can appreciate Enola Holmes depends largely upon their capacity to watch a Holmes movie/story that has strayed away from its source material. If you are one whose preferences include reworks on classic materials, chances are Enola Holmes will be a good watch for you. However, if you believe that some things should remain untouched, this movie will disappoint you.
If you are looking for a fun, family-friendly film and reworks do not bother you, Enola Holmes is a great choice.