Enola Holmes is a young female sleuth who we closely relate to her brother, Sherlock Holmes. However, in this film, she paves her own way by solving her own set of mysteries.
“Stranger Things” star, Millie Bobby Brown, brings Enola Holmes to Netflix with an enjoyable, yet interesting youthful twist.
Brown, along with her sister Paige Brown, also helped bring the film to life alongside cast members Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), Sam Claflin (Hunger Games) and Helena Bonham Carter (Ocean’s 8).
While it’s been a month since the film was released on Netflix, the rankings have not ceased. “Enola Holmes” received a 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience rating of 4.4 out of 5.
“Enola Holmes delivers mostly positive messages about individuality, equality and freedom,” said Adam Holz, a Plugged In film critic.
Enough about the reviews though—let’s get into the heart of the film and why audiences continue to rave over it a month after its release.
“Enola Holmes” is based on a six-book series by Nancy Springer, which also features the infamous detective Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock was originally created by author Sir Arthur Conon Doyle, and Sherlock stories have captivated audiences since the 1900s. Everyone and their mother wanted to be a sleuth, hence the creation of a much more relatable female heroine—Enola.
Enola is a feisty young detective, taking after her older brother, and solving mysteries with her friends. While the books share a lot more of her story, Netflix decided to make a origin-story type film to introduce Enola to the screen.
The film starts with Enola narrating her own story. She’s portrayed to be a spunky, energetic and educated girl living in the English countryside during the 1900s. Enola lives with her mother (Helena Bonham Carter) and a simple house staff that has taken care of Enola since she was a baby.
The Holmes family is very eccentric, with Enola learning self-defense, archery and science before ever touching a finishing school lesson.
Enola’s mother is shown, in various sequences, training her daughter for some great “thing,” but of course Enola has no idea what’s in store for her future.
The movie actually revisits all of Enola’s teachers, giving her insight on her mother’s disappearance. Although, I must say the writers really keep audiences in the dark as to why Enola’s mother had to leave, and even at the end of the film, we still are not sure what the next move is for our young detective.
In the original books by Doyle, Enola actually doesn’t exist, but Sherlock and his brother, Mycroft, do.
After Enola’s mother goes missing, Enola’s world goes spiraling out of control. Sherlock and Mycroft then come into the picture, and for a brief moment, they struggle over who will care for the 16-year-old girl.
Mycroft decides as the eldest, he will put her through finishing school and marry her off to a rich husband so that Enola can become an ornament to society. Sherlock remains quiet throughout all of this, which is interesting, because we assume Sherlock is a marvelous, confident man with a backbone. In this film, however, he is portrayed to be very shy and indecisive.
Jack Thorne wrote the film version of Enola Holmes. Thorne is well know for various TV shows and plays, as well as the stage version of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “His Dark Materials”, originally written by Philip Pullman.
Thorne also puts a feminist spin in Enola Holmes, which may be the reason why Sherlock’s character is so muted in the film.
Critics say the feminism is not overdone, and the execution went over very well with audiences.
“Enola Holmes” has Enola narrate the entire movie, as if she’s reading a live diary entry. Enola also directly addresses the audience, which can come off as abrupt in some points of the film.
The film, while childish in some areas, actually has a dark plot, and we see this when Enola teams up with a pretentious Viscount Tewkesbury, played by Louis Partridge.
Tewkesbury is running away from his responsibilities, and runs into a headstrong Enola, also running away from the oppressive finishing school Mycroft has placed her in.
The two both go through many adventures in the two hour film, almost dying numerous times. It is in these adventures that audiences can see both characters developing their detective skills, and their blossoming relationship.
“Enola Holmes” explores themes in self-discovery, young love and independence. Overall, most people would enjoy it for the comedy, and I think the costumes, filming locations and writing of the film can be appreciated too.
Emilie Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @emilieemeree.