Enola Holmes Movie Review Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and a half stars)
Star Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter, Louis Partridge
Director: Harry Bradbeer
What’s Good: Despite being a spin-off to the much-loved detective saga, this never acts like one. Enola Holmes maintains her identity as well as individuality till the very end
What’s Bad: There will be parallels drawn which could affect the quirky little offering for what it is.
Loo Break: Only if you want to miss one more thing Millie Bobby Brown could do as an actress.
Watch or Not?: Watch it if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan, watch it if you’re not a Sherlock Holmes fan.
Jumping straight on the screen breaking the fourth wall, we see Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) cycling while she takes us to the things we must know before getting ahead in the story. We discover she’s visiting Railway Station to welcome her brothers Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft Holmes (Sam Claflin). Nope, before you guess, they are not here (England) to get rakhi tied because of Rakshabandhan, they’re here to solve a case, the case of their lost mother Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter).
As Enola starts to decipher the messages her mother has left for her, she starts to understand how this is a solo battle to fight. On her run to discover herself and try to find her lost mother, Enola meets Viscount Lord Tewksbury (Louis Partridge) to of course form a romantic sub-plot with him. He has his fair-share yesses and nos with Enola as she focuses on finding her mother. Rest, it’s all about whether Enola will truly be able to find what she’s looking for or she’ll just get what’s actually there?
Enola Holmes Movie Review: Script Analysis
All hail the screenplay writer Jack Thorne to not messing up much with the editing pattern of modern Sherlock Holmes. He smartly bridges the flashback sequences just to keep you intrigued, even with the simplest of happenings around. Giles Nuttgens, the cinematographer behind a wild-looking 2016’s neo-western drama Hell or High Water, surprises yet again. Despite all the vintage and classical gloom, the camerawork makes it feel like a modern-day work and the mashup is served fresh with the film.
One error I spotted in the film (or at least I think I did, Enola’s birth year is shown as 1884, her mother gets lost on her 16th birthday which means the year should technically be 1900. But all the Reform Bills proceedings happened in England in 1884. I guess when the film shows ‘1884’, they don’t mean that to be Enola’s birth-year, but it might be the year the film is set in. The problem is, it’s shown right at the scene when Enola is shown as an infant, making you think that’s her birth-year. I still have my doubts on this, and I may be wrong, if someone could explain to me, that’d be cool.
I loved the way how the story manages to focus on Enolma Holmes’ storyline and not make it all about Sherlock Holmes. The makers could’ve easily manipulated the Sherlock fan-base by making this about him, but they didn’t. I guess they know we’re smart and would’ve deducted their disguise. Time for my major complaint, there are some rare films that need flesh and not the crispness. The love story in the movie required some time to develop, and so does the Sherlock-Enola sub-plot. Now, being a Sherlock Holmes fan myself, I wouldn’t have minded a 150 minutes+ film. We’ve binge-watched (more than) hourly episodes on its spin-off. The script should’ve taken its own sweet time to develop the sub-plots apart from the Enola-Eudoria one. The mother-daughter sequence gets what it deserves and is shaped quite well, unlike the others.
Enola Holmes Movie Review: Star Performance
Watching Millie Bobby Brown out of Stranger Things’ universe for the second time (after Godzilla: Mess of the Monsters), and OH MY GOD! She has proved enough with Netflix’s sci-fi shows, but this film should prove to be a stepping stone for this powerhouse of talent. She had made way for herself by also producing this film, and that’s indeed a genius move. This is a perfect launchpad for Millie, and it shows how far she can go in the world of cinema.
Sam Claflin’s Mycroft is much messier than seen on the BBC’s version. Unfortunately, the focus on Henry’s Sherlock eclipses the opportunity his character should’ve got in the narrative. I actually didn’t mind Henry Cavill as Sherlock keeping the fact aside that no one can be as Sherlock as Benedict Cumberbatch’s dimples. But, Henry keeps it subtle and always makes you remind of Cumberbatch. He gets the story flowing towards him with some sequences, but ultimately this is an Enola Holmes show (or a movie).
Helena Bonham Carter, the veteran in the space of periods dramas, fit in well as Enola’s mother. Her most of the scenes are bridged as flashbacks, and those are well-performed. Louis Partridge pulls off a Timothee Chalamet as Viscount Lord Tewksbury. Thankfully, his character is balanced by the end after a quivering start.
Enola Holmes Movie Review: Direction, Music
Continuing the discussion from the ‘script analysis’ section above, I believe Harry Bradbeer had a solid reason to keep this film at just around 120 minutes. This is a conscious decision to get the non-Sherlock fans to his zone. There are dark moments in the film, but they don’t remain to be so for a long time. All of this is a plan to shape up this detective-drama with the backing of Sherlock’s world and not actually be like his world. A smart move, if that’s the reason because you can watch Enola Holmes no matter if you haven’t seen a single episode or have read a single phrase about Sherlock Holmes. Harry has mastered the breaking of fourth-wall in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, and he tries something similar here. It’s just not as polished as his previous work and a lot of it is because of the screenplay.
Daniel Pemberton (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) takes a similar route with music as he took with Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. He doesn’t follow any formula of the previous period-dramas in arranging his instruments. He mixes in the opera-ish background score sets to strengthen the impact of the BGM.
Enola Holmes Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, at the surface, Enola Holmes is an emotional mother-daughter tale, but it comes back up with so much to offer from Millie Bobby Brown’s antics to a broader message of ‘how our future is up to us’. Concluding the review with a dialogue from the film, “look for what’s there, not what you want to be there.”
Three and a half stars!
Enola Holmes Trailer
Enola Holmes releases on 23rd September, 2020.
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