Recently, Netflix came out with the film, Enola Holmes. Ever since the BBC show, Sherlock, I’ve been a little bit more invested in the mysterious world that surrounds Sherlock Holmes, and I love Benedict Cumberbatch’s representation of the super sleuth, but to be honest, I haven’t loved any other actor in the role as much as Benedict, but when Henry Cavill stepped into the role, I’ll be honest, I had a lot of fun with it. But we’re here not to talk about Sherlock. We’re here to talk about his sister, Enola. So, exult! Because this film is decent. Let’s get crackin!
This review is brought to you by the word of the day: Exult.
To be extremely joyful, AKA rejoice.
Enola Holmes focuses on the life of Sherlock Holmes’s younger sister, Enola. While Sherlock is off deciphering mysteries in London, his sister lives at home, chumming it up with their mother. That is, until their mother vanishes into thin air. Everything points to the fact that she probably ran off on purpose. When Mycroft Holmes decides to send Enola to school to teach her how to be a proper lady, she runs away to find her mother.
This is such a fun little movie that I got sucked into almost immediately, partially because of how well it was made and partially because of how well these actors portray these characters. Millie Bobby Brown felt born to play this kind of boyish, yet still feminine young lady. How she speaks her mind and is technically improper for the time era is really great. It also showcases why feminism is such a huge thing nowadays. The way people treat women just because they’re women in this movie is ridiculous, yet realistically accurate, and Enola Holmes is a really, really good character. Yeah, she’s basically the female version of Sherlock Holmes, but if you think about it, when a story takes place in the 1800s, a female doing all this work while being scoffed at is immediately deeper, more important, and even relevant to stuff going on in the world today. Her obstacles aren’t just mysteries found within the case itself; her obstacles comes down to people judging her for simply being a girl. I found that to be a little bit more human, actually, then a lot of what you find out of Sherlock Holmes stories, which are just plain entertaining mysteries.
When you look at the other characters in the film, you have Helena Bonham Carter who plays the Holmes mother, and she does fantastic in that kind of role, just as mysterious as anyone else in the family. Henry Cavill gives off a very, very calm and subdued performance of Sherlock, and that’s really nice to see. As for Mycroft, my god. I’ve never liked his character in the past, but the actors I’ve seen portray the same character have almost always made him a bit sarcastic and a smart aleck – mostly a passive aggressive thing because Sherlock was the smarter sibling, but in this, he’s just a jerk. He sort of serves as the antagonist of the film, because he is the primary obstacle standing in Enola’s way. He’s constantly trying to find her, grab her, and send her to a girls school, never to be heard of again. He’s really god awful in this movie, but Sam Claflin does such a remarkable job in that role, too. The movie is missing Watson for whatever reason, but if they ever make another movie, maybe that’s another character they can dive into later.
From a cinematography standpoint, the film opens up on some heavy dialogue and editing choices that immediately stood out to me. When I turned on the movie, it wasn’t even three minutes in before I said to myself, “This is going to be a fairly decent Netflix original”, and it was. A lot of Sherlock Holmes movies and TV shows do a good job with editing because it needs to keep the mystery alive, and a big part of that is sort of how the editing revolves around what goes through this girl’s head, which is constantly moving, and she sometimes breaks the fourth wall more than she needs to, but it’s nothing horrible. I was also a fan of the production design, which did a pretty great job taking me back to the 1800s, where this took place.
What about the negatives? Well, honestly, I don’t think there are any. Again, just little things here and there that make the film imperfect, but nothing that outwardly stands out as bad. The only subcategory that got no points from me in my scoring spreadsheet was my impulse to buy or own it, and I went back and forth on that one. If this wasn’t a Netflix thing, and was instead a movie movie, would I want it in my collection at home? Hard to say. I don’t think I’d mind owning it if someone wanted to gift it to me, but I probably wouldn’t put it on a wishlist or go out of my way to buy it. Maybe that will change further down the road, but as it is now, that’s how I feel. Everything else in this movie was actually done rather well.
So, let’s take a look at my final score for a second. From a technical, unbiased viewpoint, I dug a lot of what they were doing with character development, dialogue, the balance of this mystery, keeping things human and real, the production design, editing, and even some of the music and sound choices I was digging, so that score is 90%. When it comes to my biased score, I obviously enjoyed the movie. I think the only problem the film runs into is that it focuses on two mysteries, and by not focusing so much on one, the clues are left a bit diluted and not as strong as other Sherlock stories, so its not as good of a mystery. That score is 82%, and when we average out the two scores together, we come to the final rating of 86%, 86 out of 100 possible stars, or a B+ letter grade.
I often go back and forth when it comes to Netflix original films. Sometimes, I really like them, but more often than not, I’m left a bit to be entertained, but Enola Holmes is actually one of their better films, one that I had a much better time with. That being said, I’d like to hear your thoughts on Enola Holmes in the comments section down below. Are you a fan of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and if so, what did you think about this sort of spin-off of those stories with his younger sister as the lead detective? As always, until next time…