Movie: "Enola Holmes"
Release Date: Sept. 23, 2020
Director: Harry Bradbeer
Runtime: 2 hours 3 minutes
Genre: Adventure, crime, drama, mystery
Throughout history, there have been countless screen adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Whether that be a younger Holmes in the aptly titled "Young Sherlock Holmes" from 1985, the BBC version with Benedict Cumberbatch, the Robert Downey Jr./Guy Ritchie versions, the animated abomination that is "Sherlock Gnomes" or Disney’s eternally delightful "The Great Mouse Detective," the world’s greatest sleuth has seen his fair share of incarnations. Now, we receive a new spin on the classic tale in the form of "Enola Holmes."
Adapted from the series of books by Nancy Springer, "Enola Holmes" follows our titular character Enola (Millie Bobby Brown). She's the teenage younger sister of Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and the equally cunning but less-involved Mycroft (Sam Claflin). Trained by her mother (Helena Bonham Carter) since birth, Enola is skilled in many areas of expertise. She can kick butt, solve puzzles and do it all without breaking a sweat. When her mother suddenly disappears, it’s up to Enola to figure out where she’s headed and why she left, all while uncovering another mystery regarding the son of a wealthy British family.
Directed by Harry Bradbeer, Emmy-winning director of the critically acclaimed television show "Fleabag," this movie is a light and charming affair. "Enola Holmes" is heavily reliant on the performance of its lead, played wonderfully by Millie Bobby Brown of "Stranger Things." She imbues the character with a great sense of wit. Enola breaks the fourth wall often, and in the wrong hands this can be annoying, but Brown makes it quite pleasant.
Families, among other audiences, will get a kick out of "Enola Holmes." It’s breezy and inoffensive. Solving the mystery at home with Enola lets you work on your own deductive reasoning skills. It's definitely not the most complex mystery, but seeing it capably-handled is worthy of praise nonetheless. What it lacks in dramatic or suspenseful twists and turns, it most certainly makes up for in pure appeal. After a multitude of Sherlock Holmes adaptations primarily centered on the men, getting a heroine to lead the picture is a nice change of pace.
Aside from some nitpicking regarding the editing, cinematography, pacing and overall story, "Enola Holmes" is a good time. Millie Bobby Brown in particular is a real treat in terms of her screen presence. This could be the start of a luxurious franchise in the vein of "Harry Potter" or "The Maze Runner." With all that said, it's clear why Netflix scooped this project up from Warner Bros. Regardless of the pandemic, it’s not a very theatrical experience, but that doesn’t make it any less of a fine film. Grab your magnifying glasses and open up an investigation into "Enola Holmes."