If there’s one thing you should know about me, it is the fact that I am a sucker for anything crime related. I don’t need to know anything else…if it includes a crime you have my attention. I knew nothing about Enola Holmes other than the fact that Twitter was abuzz about it. And let me just say I was pleasantly surprised.
Enola, Sherlock’s little sister, is left to call on her brothers when her mother goes missing. As the story unfolds, you find out it isn’t actually a story of a crime but rather one of tricky family dynamics, coming of age, and the expectations placed on women. Even though this film is set in the 1880s there are plenty of themes that young girls, and women for that matter, will be able to relate to. Enola was raised to be a strong woman who thinks for herself. While today that might not seem that radical, in the 1880s people saw that as problematic.
Millie Bobby Brown competently leads this cast. For being as young as she is, she knows what she is doing. I will warn you, there is A LOT of breaking of the fourth wall. So, if that isn’t your thing, it might get annoying. As a character though Enola is so likable that I actually found it charming. Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, and Helena Bonham Carter round out the Holmes family. Let me just say that Henry Cavill’s jawline may kill you but Sam Claflin’s mustache will be there to give you a hug when it is all over so in the end it is all going to be fine.
Speaking of the brothers, it is really interesting to watch Enola’s relationship with each develop throughout the story. Sherlock (Cavill) and Mycroft (Claflin) are significantly older than Enola and were not around much for her childhood. When they get off the train, they don’t even recognize her. Mycroft is obviously the one that thinks he is better than the rest of his family and really does not approve of his mother and Enola’s lifestyle. This disapproval leads to plenty of tension between Mycroft and Enola. Sherlock on the other hand is very obviously intrigued by Enola. They are very similar in their curiosities and the way they look at the world. By the end, it is obvious that Sherlock and Enola share a certain bond that Mycroft would never understand.
One of my biggest issues with this film is the fact that Enola did not need a love interest. I will say I have never read the books so I do not know if this is a deviation from the source material or not. This is a story about a strong young woman trying to make her way in the world. But once again, a love interest is forced on her to make her appear weaker. It also just wasn’t necessary for the plot. It would have been completely plausible for Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge) to be a platonic friend/rival for Enola. I am ready to get to the point where a young woman is able to star in a film independently without having a love interest to fall back on.
Honestly this was a super enjoyable escape from the hellscape we call 2020. It was light and fun but still had something important to say. The action scenes were enjoyable and while at times if felt like the story was going off track it always had a purpose and self-corrected quick enough that it keeps the viewer invested in the overall plot. While it had its minor issues, I recommend giving this one a try!