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Sunday, Sep 26, 2021

Review: “Enola Holmes” is a delightful experience that will leave viewers eagerly awaiting the next mystery

Based on the book series of the same name, “Enola Holmes” stars Millie Bobby Brown along with other renowned actors such as Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin and Helena Bonham Carter while also giving newer actors like Louis Partridge the chance to shine.

The film follows Enola Holmes, the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, as she sets out on a journey to find their missing mother while dodging her elder brothers’ attempts to force her to become a proper young woman. Along the way, she stumbles upon a nefarious plot in connection to a young runaway lord.

“Enola Holmes” takes both new and old characters and brings them to life in such a vivid way. Enola herself is vivacious, energetic, witty and fascinating to watch. Brown captivates audiences with her enthusiasm, making her habitual breaking of the fourth wall feel natural as she briefly converses with the audience. Her growth throughout the film is organic and consistent with her own values, different as they may be to her mother’s or brothers’.

It’s through Enola that the film takes the gender norms of the time and flips them on their head. While many period pieces have female characters either lean wholeheartedly into their femininity or reject it entirely, Enola is refreshing in her steadfast refusal to do either. 

Set during the 19th century, discussion surrounding the vote for the Representation of the People Act of 1884 plays an important role in the plot. A prominent theme of the film is understanding one’s privilege and being willing to do what is right over what is expected. Susie Wokoma plays Edith, a Black woman, tea shop owner and jiujitsu instructor and meets with Sherlock Holmes at one point to discuss Enola and their mother. Edith tells Sherlock, “You have no interest in changing a world that suits you so well.” The themes are timely and, while a bit blunt at times, important parts of discussions that we’re still having today.

“Enola Holmes” stands out among the many “Sherlock Holmes” adaptations for a wide array of reasons, but the portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is perhaps one of the best. Henry Cavill brings a new life to the iconic Sherlock Holmes, portraying the typically stoic detective as complex and emotive as he realizes the multitude of issues in his relationship with Enola. The film forces Sherlock to confront the privileges that he’s been given in his life and consider how his mother, sister and others, such as Edith, are unable to take advantage of such opportunities. 

Newcomer Louis Partridge shines as Viscount Tewkesbury, a young lord who has run away from home. While “Enola Holmes” is his first major film credit, Partridge’s genuine enthusiasm brings the character to life and makes him the perfect companion to Brown’s wittier Enola. His relationship with Enola is adorable to watch as they grow together. It’s also incredibly reminiscent of an actual teenager’s first relationship, helped along by the fact that both Brown and Partridge play characters that are their actual age. With both talented actors, the film is strengthened rather than hindered.

While the film’s plot is compelling, the switch halfway through forces plot points from the first half of the film to be left unresolved. There are too many questions left open about Enola’s mother and her motives, along with what exactly her disappearance means. The ending of the film tries to wrap that plot up without actually giving its audience the answers they need. That does, however, mean that the film is perfect for a sequel or even an entire series of films starring Enola.

Overall, “Enola Holmes” is genuinely delightful and sure to be a favorite on my watchlist for the foreseeable future. With such amazing actors, timely themes and compelling characters, it’s the perfect film to check out and fall in love with. With any luck, Enola’s story will continue soon with another mystery!


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