I am a Sherlock Holmes fanatic. Whether it’s the BBC series with Benedict Cumberbatch or the movie version with Robert Downey Jr., I’ve loved every iteration of the famous detective’s story. So when I heard that Millie Bobby Brown was starring in a new movie from the Sherlock world, I gasped. Combining my love of Sherlock stories with my love for Stranger Things? It was too good to be true.
Based on the book by Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes follows Sherlock’s estranged younger sister. Enola investigates the disappearance of her mother, runs into trouble and forms relationships along the way. While the plot isn’t as intricate as other Sherlock iterations, it’s well done and makes you feel warm inside.
Plus, Millie Bobby Brown flourishes in this role. It’s nice seeing her come to life, playing a fun and youthful character. Throughout the film, Enola would turn and talk to the camera as a narrator, making it feel casual. It was much more lighthearted than Brown’s Stranger Things performance. And with Henry Cavill as Sherlock and Helena Bonham Carter as Enola’s mom, the cast is unbeatable.
Strong themes of feminism and female empowerment are woven throughout the film, with a constant tension between Enola’s desire for liberation and the patriarchal society. And Enola Holmes proves the Sherlock realm — which has historically revolved around a man — has room for women. There are no storylines that a woman cannot be part of. Brown’s untamable spirit in the film was a perfect example of this.
One of my favorite lines in the movie was from Edith, a member of a radical group of suffragettes. She said to Sherlock, “Politics doesn’t interest you. Why? Because you have no interest in changing a world that already suits you so well.” This is a poignant statement, especially in light of our current political climate as we approach Election Day.
I only wish the movie was a little more involved. Compared to BBC’s Sherlock, the plot was fairly predictable and the mystery wasn’t very complex. Enola is definitely clever, but I think the film would have benefited from a little more development of her talents. To me, it would qualify as a children’s movie — despite its PG-13 rating — but it’s enjoyable for all ages.
I liked how the movie was still a period piece, but included modern feminist themes. The costume design was exquisite and transported you to a different world. I loved the contrast between the cinematography of London, chaotic and messy, and the shots of the English countryside, clean and beautiful.
You can’t help but smile anytime Brown smiles in the movie. Simple and bright, watching Enola Holmes made me happy. In times like these, we all need a movie like that. If you’re looking for a warm and empowering movie, make sure to watch this one.