“When Enola Holmes-Sherlock’s teen sister-discovers her mother missing, she sets off to find her, becoming a super-sleuth in her own right as she outwits her famous brother and unravels a dangerous conspiracy around a mysterious young Lord.” – IMDB
I’m a sucker for a light, playful, undemanding murder mystery. If they are done well then they intrigue you throughout and enough to watch multiple times, but they also allow you upon subsequent watches to do chores around the house without too much distraction. Knives Out and Clue are the ones that come to mind first, but you probably also have your own. And now, I am adding Enola Holmes to that list. Let me clarify…
Set during the Victorian era, as most Holmes stories are (with the notable exception of the BBC/PBS adaptation), this film focuses on Sherlock and Mycroft’s much younger sister, Enola, who has been raised exclusively by her mother, a revolutionary railing against the patriarchy of the times. Enola, like Liam Neeson, is taught a particularly set of skills which her mother feels will prove most useful to her in the real world. However, when the Holmes mother disappears without any explanation, Enola is left a ward of Mycroft, who feels that she has been raised as a wildling, with no training on proper womanhood. This conflict between Enola and Mycroft leads to Enola’s running away and becoming entangled with a Marquess and the family who is trying to pursue him.
At the heart of this film is the discovery of what it means to be a woman, and how that pursuit looks different for each of us. However, what is nice about this film is that it is not too heavy handed in that message. It permeates each scene, but still allows the audience member to simply have fun watching a Holmes mystery unfold. This is thanks, in large part, to Brown and Carter who have both made careers out of playing strong, unique, bold women. They support one another while pursuing their own destiny’s, which is what makes their relationship empowering.
While the film can be fanciful at times (keep an eye out for the anachronistic automobile), it stays grounded in the story of this young woman trying to find her mother, her friend, and herself. Don’t expect an Oscar contender in this one, but if you’re looking for a fun, feminist, frolic, I think this is worth a weekend viewing.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also see: Knives Out, Clue, or any of the Holmes canon. I personally went and watched the BBC/PBS series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman after.
With: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Clafin, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed By: Harry Bradbeer