Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, Henry Cavill and Louis Partridge Enola Holmes is a new Netflix film that tells the origin story of the youngest Holmes child.
Enola Holmes (Brown) is the baby of the family and has lived with her mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter) her whole life. She adores her mother and their daily lessons of archery, puzzle-solving and jujitsu training (you know the usual kind of things women of the era learn). That is until Enola’s 16th Birthday when Eudoria disappears.
Enola’s estranged brothers, Sherlock (Cavill) and Mycroft (Claflin) Holmes, arrive on the scene to take of the matter. Sherlock will find their mother while Mycroft fullfilling his duty as Enola’s guardian will ensure she is sent to the proper finishing school.
Enola is not having any of this and so as a famous detective always says:
The game is afoot
By escaping her brothers and making her way to London Enola has to figure out how to find her mother, dodge her brothers and solve a case that she has happened upon.
There is a lot going on in Enola Holmes and if I’m being honest there are too many elements being juggled. There is a storyline that likely worked in the book that just does not work here and it involves Mycroft’s quest to ensure Enola is a proper young woman.
The film dedicates too much time to this, so much time that as the film is revving up to its climax Mycroft’s plot comes tumbling in and slows the pace of the film to a crawl taking Enola to a location that never needed to be in the film. This sticks on an additional 15 minutes that if they were edited out would make the film far more punchy and sharp in its delivery.
Enola Holmes must become something unexpected
What works so well for this film is its characters. The cast are impressive and give enjoyable performances. In particular Brown who exudes so much charm that you’ll adore the littlest Holmes quite quickly.
Her brothers are interesting. Cavill plays the legendary detective with an aloof charm. Since he’s seen more as a looming presence instead of a fully fleshed character Cavill does a decent job. Fans of the character Mycroft may take issue with this iteration as Claflin portrays him as very much a man of his time. He treats Enola quite poorly and is far more antagonistic to her than Sherlock. Also he seems far simpler than his younger siblings no longer the smartest Holmes that has been portrayed in other outings.
There is also Helena Bonham Carter. Though seen sparingly throughout the film she is perfectly cast as a woman ahead of her time. She gives Eudoria a genuine and charming eccentricity.
At the heart of the film is an enjoyable if predictable mystery. It’s not too taxing and though there are some nice twists it’s nothing extraordinary.
However, when you add this Holmes’ deduction abilities the story is far more fun. Much like other Holmes properties, there is a visual aspect to Enola’s own sleuthing skill. If I could describe it I would say it’s a mixture of Guy Ritchie’s visual recollection and Steven Moffat’s word mapping.
Enola Holmes is a fun film that everyone in the family will enjoy. With a captivating lead surrounded by an equally fun supporting cast, you’d be remiss to miss this.
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