Image courtesy of Variety
By Kat Kaderabek
Electric, entertaining, and fast-paced, Enola Holmes has taken Netflix by storm with its star-studded cast, brilliant plot, and reminiscent scenery of 1900s England. The film features Netflix-made star Millie Bobby Brown, whose acting debut was in the role of Eleven in Netflix’s Stranger Things. This is one of her first projects in which the star has branched out to the center of a film. She does this with incredible grace and an admirable spunk one would expect the little sister of Sherlock Holmes to possess.
Estranged sister to famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his older brother Mycroft, Enola Holmes has grown up very unconventionally with her outlandish and secretive mother, Eudoria Holmes (played by Helena Bonham Carter). Upon the disappearance of her mother, Enola falls into the not-so-tender care of her oldest brother who insists she attend finishing school after witnessing her rather wild ways.
Spunky, and full of self-righteous independence uncommon to English women of her time period, Enola Holmes brings a modern and fresh perspective to the outdated English countryside. As she tries to determine her place within the world of men, she meets the young runaway, Viscount Tewksbury, who happens to find himself at the end of a bounty-chase across the most famed cities of England.
The movie itself was very refreshing and interesting to see a female as a smart, intelligent, and physically strong character. Enola Holmes is trained in martial arts and many of her fight scenes come unexpectedly and quickly. The actress herself is very small compared to the men she fights in several scenes; her wins are based on technique and practice rather than her physical dominance. This was very interesting to see, especially in a film catered towards a younger audience because it sends a message of empowerment and the importance of protective skills to those of all sizes and stature.
The blossoming romance between Enola and Tewksbury is very endearing and magnetic. It is a wonder what a haircut can truly do for a character. Though there is nothing solidified in their relationship even by the end of the movie, fans have been calling for the two’s inevitable romance in possible sequel films. Though nothing has been officially announced, according to Digital Spy, the film’s director Harry Bradbeer has mentioned that a second film is currently being discussed.
Another interesting characteristic of the film was that Enola continually broke the fourth wall, choosing instead to reveal her inner thoughts to the audience rather than to the characters in the film. This is an interesting technique in film when utilized properly; however, Holmes seemed to break the fourth wall almost too much, causing the audience to be overly involved in her story. Moments of panic and quick-thinking were met with freeze-frames and slow-motion actions where Enola would address the audience and take some of the excitement out of the action.
Despite this, there were other high-intensity action sequences that did not include a nod to the audience. These were more intense than expected, especially for a movie geared towards a younger audience. The film is rated PG-13 because of the violence level, but without those specific scenes, it could be easily watched and enjoyed by all generations. The graphic, violent nature of the movie was unexpected, especially given its relationship to Sherlock Holmes whose reputation boasts that of a calm composure; however, this gives Enola Holmes her own identity as a character, which was the main goal of the film.
Overall, Enola Holmes embodies the same quick wit and sharp characteristics of her famed brother Sherlock, but she adds her own elements and identity as she works through her challenges throughout the film. This piece is dynamic in that it gives the same feeling as watching or reading a Sherlock Holmes novel, but Enola brings about a female perspective and individuality not seen before in terms of female detective movies.