Movie Review: Netflix’s “Enola Holmes”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

(Disclaimer: This review contains SPOILERS. This is my own rating and my own personal opinions about the film)

Meet the charismatic, unconventional teenage sister of infamous detective Sherlock Holmes.

From Imdb.com

Upon finding her mother missing, who is the one person who has always been the one constant in her life, young Enola Holmes uses the crime-solving skills her mother has taught her to solve her disappearance. On her way she runs into a teenage lord named Tewkesbury who she finds is more trouble than he is worth. While he is escaping the oppression of his family’s conflicting expectations, there is also a madman hired to kill him. Enola soon discovers that her own story and that of the teenage lord are connected so does all she can to help solve the mysteries of each, even amidst the danger that has made her a target as well.

Dislikes

  • Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes. I’m kind of conflicted on this one. Maybe it’s because I already have the image of Robert Downing Jr. in my mind as the charismatic yet eccentric detective from the Guy Ritchie films, but I felt that Cavill’s performance was rather off. In contrast, I actually enjoyed Sam Claflin’s portrayal of Mycroft, who made his character so dislikeable, I found myself rooting for the toned-down and somewhat modest Sherlock portrayal. Well done, Claflin.
From Imdb.com
  • Breaking the third wall. This may be a necessary strategy to tell Enola’s story in the book, but it got distracting in the movie. I’m glad they toned down Enola’s constant dialogue with the camera as the film progressed, instead resorting to simply side-glancing at the audience during dramatic or emotional scenes. However, I found myself taken out of the story more than I would have liked as she broke from the story to tell us what she was thinking or was happening (even though we just saw it). It sort of cheesed up the story.  
  • Convenience throughout the plot. It seemed like a lot of the events that occurred were more convenient than practical. Some examples include Enola’s advantages when fighting Linthorn, the fact that Enola found the one person who could sway the votes in favor of her mother’s goal for England’s future, and of course Tewkesbury’s “surprise” survival after the final confrontation with Linthorn and the Dowager. However, the story contained enough unclear clues to drive the plot, which kept me watching.

Likes

  • Millie Bobby Brown’s performance. I am unfamiliar with the other projects she has done (if any), but I liked what she did with this character. Enola’s immature yet intellectual attitude and courageous yet fearful nature at times was well-executed. For example, although lines or events in the story were cheesy at times, she didn’t allow any of that cheese to impact her performance of the unorthodox daughter of an even more unorthodox mother.
  • The love story that never (maybe) was. I both liked and disliked where the love story went; I appreciated the fact that a solid friendship seemed to have developed between Enola and Tewkesbury, yet I felt that the love story was lacking. While it seems important for the protagonist to shine her independent freedom in this movie, I kind of would have liked to see them get together in a more obvious light. But then again, they are just teenagers, so who it was nice to conclude with that mystery…quite fitting for a Holmes.
From Imdb.com
  • Cinematography. Stunning! The creators also picked beautiful/fitting settings for each scene. From an entertainment standpoint, there was not one setting I didn’t like or I thought believable for what was happening in the scene. The camera angles also brought believability and depth to each shot whether the scenes were filmed at an aerial view, from the back, or in a hodgepodge of drawings, photos, or flashbacks.
  • Costumes. I recently watched a YouTube review from Karolina Żebrowska about the historical accuracy of the costumes in this film and somewhat agree with her comment that they are “a complete mess, but also kind of fun” (0:14) timeline-wise. While the majority of the women’s costumes seemed to align with late 19th century standards, to me the men’s costumes looked more Edwardian (starched collars, etc.). But I’m a fan of costumes from both the 19th and the early 20th century so the costumes’ occasional lack of “historical accuracy” didn’t bug me too much.
From Imdb.com
  • Fun story. While it contained more elements of feminism than I would have liked, this film contained many ideas that were being newly advocated in the Victorian Era, ideas that may seem redundant to some (like myself). However, framing these ideas in the era in which many women and few men were for supporting made a memorable impact. The language was mild, the message about freedom was powerful, and though there was violence in parts (hence the PG-13 rating), scenes containing nudity or sexuality were absent.

Recommendation

Overall, I liked this movie. If you are looking for a fun literary spin-off film to watch with the family that you don’t want to take too seriously, nor worry about naughty scenes or bad language, then I recommend this one!

Content Advisory
Language: 1/5
Sex: 0/5
Violence/Gore: 2.5/5
Drugs/Alcohol: 2.5/5 (smoking)

Published by Ashley Weaver

I am a writer, reader, student, and teacher of literature and the English language.

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