Enola Holmes (2020): A Refreshing Look At The Sherlock Holmes Universe
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Now, where to begin?
I never read or watched anything in the Sherlock Holmes franchise growing up. I didn’t have anything against it per se, but no one in my family had an interest in it and, therefore, I had no one to share it with. However, as soon as I discovered the trailer for Enola Holmes on Instagram a few months ago, I knew that this film was going to be my first trip to this mysterious world. Watching it the day after it was released, I was satisfied that this was the right choice.
Netflix’s Enola Holmes is based on The Enola Holmes Mysteries series by Nancy Springer. It follows the journey of the titular character, Enola (Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things), the younger sister of the famous Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill, Man of Steel). When her mother (Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown) disappears suddenly overnight, Enola enlists the help of her brother to solve the mystery. On finding that her brother isn’t quite as helpful as she’d hoped, Enola decides to take matters in her own hands and begin the search for her mother herself.
I was told by a friend who watched it the day it was released not to go into it with any prior expectations, so I didn’t really know what to expect the first time. I was pleasantly surprised by a wide variety of unexpected plot twists. I find it so refreshing when a film gives an air of unpredictability. I was satisfied with the ending, even though things didn’t turn out quite the way I expected them to. I can’t think of one thing about the plot that I would have done differently.
The main thing that drew me to this film in the first place was the cast. I hadn’t seen any of the main cast in much before, but they all appealed to me for different reasons. I was thrilled to get the chance to see Millie Bobby Brown star in something that I actually had an interest in watching (I’m looking at you, Stranger Things). I wasn’t disappointed. Her desire to play this character shone through in her execution. I was surprised and delighted to see in the ending credits that she was one of the producers of the film. I was also very happy to find out that breaking the fourth wall was her idea. This is sometimes a risky thing to attempt; however, Brown did it very well in my opinion.
With this being my first time seeing a Sherlock Holmes film, it was a pleasure having Henry Cavill be the one to introduce me to everyone’s favorite detective. Even though this film was much more about Enola than it was about Sherlock, I can’t think of a better transition into this longstanding fandom. Some may take issue with Cavill’s portrayal of Sherlock but, to me, he did an excellent job and made me wish that there were more scenes with him. I mean, how can you not love that face?
I was so overjoyed to see some familiar faces in the supporting cast and some new faces as well, with Sam Claflin (Me Before You) as Mycroft, the older brother of Sherlock and Enola, Louis Partridge (Paddington 2) as the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Burn Gorman (Bleak House) as the villainous Linthorn, Hattie Morahan (Sense & Sensibility) as Lady Tewkesbury, and David Bamber (Pride and Prejudice) as Sir Whimbrel Tewkesbury. I tend to have a difficult time entirely hating the villains but, thanks to the performance of Burn Gorman, this time I had no difficulty whatsoever.
A big highlight for me in this movie was the beautiful costuming. Each outfit that Enola wore was simply gorgeous (except for the disguise she wore on the train, of course). I can’t decide which dress I love more, the red dress she buys in the store or the pink one she is seen wearing at the market later on. I also adore the outfits worn by Lady Tewkesbury, Viscount Tewkesbury's mother. I was so mesmerized by the ensemble we first see her in at the train station. I would have personally loved wearing those costumes so much.
Another big highlight for me was that the characters weren’t afraid to show emotion. I was so touched to see more than one character with tears streaming down their cheeks. It also wasn’t too over the top, as I didn’t even notice one of the crying scenes on my first viewing of the film. It makes characters so much more relatable when they can show what they are feeling. It makes them seem more human. This movie showed that it's okay to be emotional as long as you don’t let it consume you.
I am pleased to report that there was nothing about this film that I would change. I think it did a fantastic job of balancing humor and wit with suspense and intrigue. I am so happy with my maiden voyage into the universe of Sherlock Holmes and will look back on it fondly. I eagerly anticipate the possibility of a sequel to this beautiful story, as the ending left much room for a continuation. I can hardly wait to see what the next chapter brings for Enola Holmes!
Click below to watch the trailer for Enola Holmes, only available on Netflix: