Holmes with a heart
The film is based on the book The Enola Holmes Mysteries: The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer. Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) is the youngest sibling in the famous Holmes family. Like her famous brother Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill), she is extremely intelligent, observant, and insightful. She’s been given a rather unusual upbringing by her mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter) and like her firebrand mother defies the social norms for women of the time. Like her brothers, she knows everything from chess to jiu-jitsu to deciphering cyphers and uses everything she has at her command to search for her mother when Eudoria disappears on her sixteenth birthday. Enola is made the ward of her elder brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin), who is horrified by her wild behaviour and doesn’t know what to do with her. He plans to send her to a finishing school run by the stern Miss Harrison. Enola has plans of her own and she promptly runs away. She meets a young heir, Viscount Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge) along the way. A mysterious stranger is after his life and Enola ends up saving him. She doesn’t know that their lives seem entwined and that he’ll play a large part in her quest towards finding her mother…
The best part of this frothy take on the Holmes story is Millie Bobby Brown playing the charismatic younger sister. She talks constantly to the camera, giving a running commentary about what she feels and observes. It would have been irritating in the hands of a lesser actor but such is Bobby Brown’s charm that you don’t mind this constant chatter that she keeps with the audience. The film has a dishy Henry Cavill playing Holmes and it’s to Bobby Brown’s credits that she outshines the handsome actor in their scenes together. Or it could be that Cavill, like a gentleman, let his younger colleague run away with the thunder. The film isn’t about Sherlock, in any case, but about Enola. Despite all her training, she isn’t worldly-wise as her brothers and the film serves as an origin story for the spunky heroine.
Apart from her heady adventures, the film also throws in a helping of people’s uprising and women’s rights in the mix. Eudoria is shown to be at the forefront of the women’s emancipation movement, and perhaps in the sequels to come, we’ll see the mother squaring off with her rather traditional-minded sons. Thanks to some great CGI, the period details are simply out of this world. Victorian London comes alive in the film and one feels like one has stepped through some time-portal and reached an earlier era.
Watching the film, one tends to forget that Millie Bobby Brown is only 16. She’s the Hollywood star to watch-out-for in the future. Her effortless acting makes you forget Sherlock. Suddenly, his mystique as an emotionless detective seems to be passe as you want to know more about his more dynamic sister. Fine beginnings indeed. The game, as they say, is afoot and going by the film’s and Bobby Brown’s popularity, we’re in for some further adventures of Enola in time to come…
Trailer : Enola Holmes
Neil Soans, September 23, 2020, 7:25 PM IST
Story: When Mrs Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter) goes missing, Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) enrolls her brothers Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin) to look for their mother.
Review: Enola Holmes grows up with her mother, Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter). Raising her daughter to be free-spirited and independent, Mrs Holmes homeschools Enola to ensure she’s a well-balanced teenager. But despite being close to each other, Eudoria is secretive. On her 16th birthday, Enola wakes up to discover her mother is missing. With the help of her two older brothers, Enola hopes to solve the puzzle of her sudden disappearance. Tucked away in their mansion, Enola is unkempt, unladylike, and seemingly ill-prepared to face the world. This puts her at loggerheads with her distinguished brothers, Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin), when Enola decides to take matters in her own hands.
Right out of the gate, director Harry Bradbeer wastes little time in setting the tone and pace of this adaptation by Nancy Springer. Enola is characterized as a fourth-wall-breaking, quick-witted and feisty young girl with just the right amount of quirk, played with infectious charm by Millie Bobby Brown. The young actress has the task of playing the lesser-known sister of, arguably, the most beloved private detective in literature. But Millie Bobby Brown proves she’s more than equipped. Throughout the film, her performance ensures Enola makes her mark beyond the shadow of her famous siblings. As the mystery shapes up, the older brothers employ contrasting strategies in their pursuit, reflecting their personalities. Sam Claflin gives Mycroft a grouchy and ill-tempered twist, while Henry Cavill spins his version of the enigmatic Sherlock. Cavill sports the emotionally challenged and perpetually aloof demeanor of the detective yet lends his own charisma to make this Sherlock undeniably affable. Helena Bonham Carter adds her firebrand flair as Enola’s mother.
Harry Bradbeer thoughtfully lays out and executes each scene with intent. He brings purpose to the action set-pieces as well as every dramatic exchange. This should also be credited to Jack Thorne’s taut screenplay, which ensures the fleshed-out characters are complemented by a sharp, quick-paced, and continuously engaging plot. As it unravels, the story reveals more compelling themes. Relevant to the Victorian Era as much as it does today, ‘Enola Holmes’ captures a changing world and the roles we choose to play in it. Bolstered by gorgeous production and vivid cinematography, this ‘fish-out-of-water’ tale is instantly one of the most enjoyable action-comedy films of the year, and a welcome franchise in the making.