Stranger things fame Millie Bobby Brown starrer, Enola Holmes(2020) introduces us to Sherlock Holmes’ teen sister Enola Holmes. The story is set in 1884, and brought up by her mother Eudoria in a lonely mansion, Enola was always trained and taught to survive on her own. Eudoria wanted her daughter to be unique and named her Enola which read ‘alone’ when spelt backward.
Enola wakes up on her 16th birthday, only to find out that she has disappeared without any message apart from a birthday gift. Soon her brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft arrive and they wanted to send Enola to a finishing school against her will. But she manages to escape and embarks on a journey in search of her mother and unravel the mystery behind her disappearance. On her journey, she makes acquaintance with young boy named Tewkesbury, who is running away from his royal family. This parallel story certainly adds colour to the adventure and may be an unwanted romantic angle. But the movie is filled with the charm of Enola, who is evidently inspired by the learnings from her free-spirited mother. She is intriguing and intelligent and brilliantly solves the puzzles in front of her one by one, in a way even her world-conquering brother would be proud.
Sherlock fans may not be so comfortable with his portrayal here as it is rather subdued compared to the original flamboyant Sherlock Holmes. He is shown as exact opposite of his progressive teenage sister, but thankfully not as regressive as the elder brother Mycroft. His little sister outsmarting him on a couple of occasions may also not go well with the fans.
The movie sets its women-centric tone from the initial scenes of Mother-daughter relation. Eudoria was a feminist and defied all the social norms associated with women of that time. She brought her daughter up pretty much the same way and encouraged her to be strong-willed and and independent thinking young women. However, her ways didn’t go well with the society and even her own sons, who left home at Enola’s young age. In one of the scene after Eudoria’s disappearance, where the Holmes brothers were searching for clues to unravel the mystery, Mycroft happens to see a few of Eudoria’s books. “Oh, good God! Feminism,” Mycroft says while looking at one of the books, adding, “Perhaps she was mad, or senile.” Though Mycroft tries to convince Enola that her mother’s ways were wrong she always believed her mother was right. She followed her heart and instincts on her way forward as the lady detective.
Directed by Harry Bradbeer and penned by Jack Thorne, the movie is entertaining and pacy. The storytelling is often exuberant and witty. The musical score by Daniel Pemberton syncs ever so well with the narrative along with Adam Bosman’s slick editing. The cinematography by Giles Nuttgens is outstanding with some stunning visuals and brilliant recreation of the 18th century. The distinct tone difference from the countryside visuals to the busy London was truly delightful.
Acting department is completely owned by Millie Bobby Brown as she was charming as ever and never steps a foot wrong in her portrayal of Enola. Helena Bonham Carter was the perfect cast as the unorthodox Eudoria Holmes. Louis Partridge as Tewkesbury gives a noteworthy performance in his brief role while Henry Cavill and Sam Clafin showed us completely different Holmes brothers.
The movie turned slightly violent towards the end, but for most of its duration it played well as a light-hearted adventure. Hopefully, we may see more of it in the future as the movie ends with Enola becoming a smart little private detective. My suggestion before watching Enola Holmes would be neither should you write it off as just another detective story nor should you expect the thrills and chills of watching a Sherlock movie. This is a stand alone movie which thrives on its charm, thanks to some amazing cinematography, pacy storytelling, likeable characters and the endearing presence of Millie Bobby Brown.