Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Enola Holmes (Movie Review)

Netflix continues to be the bearer of the torch for quality at-home entertainment, even as movie theaters reopen all over the world. And their latest release, Enola Holmes, just happens to be one of their better acquisitions. Originally slated to come out in theaters before lockdowns began, the movie is now streaming exclusively on Netflix, joining their existing library of films and shows based on the Sherlock Holmes literary property. But how does it compare with those other films and shows? Quite favorably if I may say.

Based on a series of young adult mystery novels, the movie stars Millie Bobby Brown as Enola Holmes, the younger sister to the famous detective, Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill). Following the death of their father, the young Enola is groomed by her rather eccentric mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter). But after her mother mysteriously goes missing one day, responsbility for Enola and their aging estate falls upon her oldest brother's shoulder, Mycroft (Sam Claflin).

Shocked to find that Enola had grown up to be just as unwomanly as their mother, Mycroft immediately tries to ensure that she becomes a proper lady, by enrolling her in a boarding school. Except Enola doesn't want to become a lady, choosing instead to go after her mother's trail using the clues that she had left behind. But finding her mother in London proves to be not as straightforward as she had imagined, as she becomes entangled with the young Lord Tewksbury (Louis Partridge), a fellow runaway being pursued by a strange man in a bowler hat (Burn Gorman).

Enola Holmes should be the new gold standard for how writers and filmmakers can tell new stories within existing properties. It is set in the same world fans of the numerous books, films and shows have come to know and love, but manages to find its own identity while still respecting everything that came before it. I realize that most of this could be attributed to the books upon which the movie is based, but we can't discount the screenplay and production design on display here either.

The film also boasts a solid ensemble of actors that help bring all its characters to life. Henry Cavill proves to be a more than capable Sherlock, while Helena Bonham Carter continues to delight in whatever role she is given. But the true highlight is Millie Bobby Brown, and rightfully so. She fully embodies the adventurous spirit you'd expect from a book series geared towards young adults, as well as that of a young woman on the cusp of discovering who she wants to be.

The best thing about Enola Holmes though is that it is an origin story. So hopefully this marks the start of a new series with limitless possibilities.

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